OREANDA-NEWS  The Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov announced the beginning of negotiations on a peace Treaty with Japan.

"In accordance with the instructions of our leaders following the summit in Singapore in November and in Buenos Aires in December last year, we begin today negotiations on the Peace Treaty," Lavrov said.

Now Tokyo's interests in the negotiations are represented by Japanese foreign Minister Taro Kono, and at the end of January, the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Russia is planned. During this trip, he will hold talks on a Peace Treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The signing of a Peace Treaty between Russia and Japan is hampered by the territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands, which has not been resolved since the Second World War. Tokyo claims the Kuril Islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Habomai, and Moscow insists that the Islands became the territory of the USSR at the end of World War II.

On the eve of the talks on the Peace Treaty, the Japanese side made a number of statements that concerned Moscow. In particular, the Japanese Ambassador to Russia Toehis Kozuki was summoned to the Foreign Ministry to warn of the danger of distortion of the essence of the "agreements of the leaders of Russia and Japan to accelerate the negotiation process."

The reason for this challenge was a number of statements by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In early January, he said that the dialogue with Russia on the signing of the Peace Treaty is over, and promised that he personally, together with Russian President Vladimir Putin "put an end to this", he also talked about the need to achieve the consent of the inhabitants of the disputed territories of the Kuriles to the transition of the Islands of Japan.

Earlier, Deputy Sergei Ivanov introduced a bill in the state Duma "on territorial claims to the Russian Federation from Japan", which establishes the territorial affiliation of the Kuril Islands to the Sakhalin region and prohibits the use of legal acts containing provisions on the exclusion of these territories.