• Kyodo


The government may offer to negotiate the return of two, rather than all four, Russian-held islands off Hokkaido with Moscow, in hopes the proposed compromise might finally see a breakthrough in the decades-old territorial dispute, Japanese government sources said Saturday.

While there is nothing new about the proposal — seeking the return of Shikotan Island and the Habomai islets as a first step was originally proposed by Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to Russian President Vladimir Putin in March 2001 — its revival coincides with Putin’s return to the presidency this Monday.

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