Putin, Abe signal no resolution on island dispute

TOKYO, Japan – Russia and Japan on Friday, December 16, signalled there was no resolution after a two-day summit to a decades-long territorial dispute that has blocked them from achieving a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks in Abe's ancestral hometown and in Tokyo in the latest attempt to secure a deal since Japan and the former Soviet Union began discussions in 1956.

"It would be naive to think we can solve this problem in an hour," Putin said at a joint press conference with Abe.

"But it is undoubtedly necessary to look for a solution."

Abe concurred, but said the effort would continue.

"Concluding a peace treaty that has not been concluded in more than 70 years is not easy," he said.

"I think we as the two leaders were able to show our sincere determination toward signing a peace treaty, although there lies a difficult path ahead."

The Soviet Union seized 4 islands off Japan's northern coast in 1945 in the closing days of the war.

The dispute over the islands, known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, has prevented the two sides from fully putting the conflict behind them. – Rappler.com