From Japan to Russia….. With love

Vladimir Putin surprised Shinzo Abe by proposing that both countries end their bickering with a post-World War II peace treaty with no strings attached by year’s end.


The sudden offer would mean shelving negotiations over the sovereignty of Russia- held, Japan-claimed islands. This peace treaty is contrary to Tokyo’s version that a peace treaty should come after the settlement of the territorial issue not before it.


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Putin said that the idea simply came to his mind to put Japan at ease during a regional economic forum in Vladivostok. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe was present during this forum, which caught him by surprise, with Putin continuing that they should conclude a peace treaty before the end of this year without any preconditions.


Putin said he wanted to have the peace treaty signed first before anything else and then let Japan come into the equation as an ally while at a question and answer session of the forum’s meeting place in Vladivostok.


While the Russian president said he was not joking (and he never does) about his proposal, it is clear that his statement about preconditions means that they no longer need to be cautious acquaintances. Abe, who was on the same stage, was unable to respond to the offer by his Russian counterpart.


It has been 70 years since both countries signed a peace treaty after Josef Stalin declared war on Japan shortly before the second atom bomb fell on Nagasaki and 70 years since the territorial dispute over a group of islands off Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido.


The two leaders have met 22 times this year and until recently have talked about the territorial issue during the latest talks. In Tokyo, the Chief Cabinet Secretary told a press conference that Putin did not make any such proposal during Monday’s meeting with Abe.


Reference: Putin surprises Abe with proposal to seal peace treaty by year-end


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