National / Politics

Abe invites Putin to Japan next summer as prime minister looks to accelerate peace treaty talks

Kyodo

During their summit in Argentina on Saturday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan next summer, a ruling party lawmaker said.

Abe proposed that Putin visit Tokyo to watch the World Judo Championships, Koichi Hagiuda, executive acting secretary-general of the prime minister’s Liberal Democratic Party, said on a Fuji TV program Wednesday.

The event will be held at Nippon Budokan in Tokyo from Aug. 25 through Sept. 1.

Abe is apparently eager to accelerate negotiations for concluding a bilateral post-World War II peace treaty through more frequent exchanges with Putin.

The prime minister is scheduled to travel to Russia in January for another summit. Putin is likely to visit Japan in June to participate in a summit of the Group of 20 major economies.

During Saturday’s meeting in Buenos Aires, Abe and Putin appointed their foreign ministers to oversee peace treaty talks based on a 1956 joint declaration.

The document, approved by the governments of Japan and the Soviet Union, says Shikotan Island and the Habomai islet group — Russian-held islands off Hokkaido — will be handed over to Japan following the conclusion of a peace treaty.

The territorial dispute, which also involves Kunashiri and Etorofu islands, has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from signing a postwar peace treaty.