TOKYO, Japan – The conclusion of a peace treaty with Russia will contribute to the security of the region and, from there, will benefit the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday.
“As long as this [peace agreement] will be beneficial to [strengthen] peace and security in the region, it will also bring gains to the United States,” Abe was quoted as saying by the Kyodo news agency.
Earlier this week, Abe reiterated Tokyo’s commitment to move forward with negotiations to conclude a peace deal to end a decades-long territorial dispute with Russia.
During a meeting in Singapore on November 14, Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to speed up negotiations to conclude the peace treaty based on the 1956 joint declaration between Japan and the Soviet Union.
In the statement, Moscow agrees to relinquish control of four disputed islands with Tokyo to seal the peace treaty between countries.
US troops stationed in Japan pose no threat to Russia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an interview with Asahi.
“US troops are stationed in Japan to ensure security in Japan and the Far East, and are in no way hostile to Russia,” Abe said.
The Japanese prime minister noted that he had explained it to Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressed hope that the Russian leader would understand this.
The statement comes after Putin said at his annual press conference in December that Russia had no clear idea of the extent of Japan’s sovereignty over the US military presence in Okinawa despite protests from local officials and residents.
The Russian president stressed that this was the factor to be taken into account during the negotiation of a peace treaty with Tokyo.
Among other things, the statement stipulates that Japan will regain control over the Habomai and Shikotan islands after the conclusion of the peace treaty. The two countries ratified the declaration, but Japan refused to implement such agreements, insisting on the transfer of all four main islands of the Kuril group.
Abe is expected to visit Russia in late January.