Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in their Moscow meeting Monday to restart talks for concluding a peace treaty, which Japan hopes would lead to resolving the bilateral dispute over the sovereignty of the Northern Territories — four islands off the coast of Hokkaido that are occupied and controlled by Russia.

They agreed in their joint statement that it is abnormal that the two countries have not yet signed a peace treaty 67 years after the end of World War II.

Significantly they agreed to instruct their respective foreign ministries to accelerate talks to create a solution acceptable to both parties concerning the peace treaty issue.