• Kyodo

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Russian presidential aide Sergei Prikhodko on Tuesday urged Japan to compromise on the dispute over the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

At a news conference, Prikhodko asked Tokyo to meet Moscow “halfway for signing a peace treaty.”

“We have covered our part of the way. Obviously, our (counterparts) should now make a move,” Prikhodko said.

The dispute over the islands in the northern Pacific — Kunashiri, Etorofu and Shikotan, and the Habomai islet group — remains the major stumbling block preventing the two sides from concluding a peace treaty for World War II.

Russia has repeated its intent to solve the dispute in line with the 1956 Japan-Soviet Joint Declaration, which stipulates that Moscow will return Shikotan and the Habomai islets to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty.

Prikhodko’s remarks seem to indicate there is no more room for compromise on the Russian side.

“It is most important that any treaty receives public support. That will require great efforts,” Prikhodko said.

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