The head of government said he expressed his desire to develop relations between Tokyo and Moscow which are mutually beneficial. At the same time, Putin declared his intention to continue dialogue on a variety of bilateral issues.
Japan and Russia have a decades-long territorial dispute over the sovereignty of the four islands, occupied by the then Soviet Union following Japan's surrender in 1945 at the end of World War II.
�������� President #Putin sent a congratulatory message to Fumio Kishida on his election as Prime Minister of Japan: No doubt that promoting constructive cooperation in various spheres between Russia & Japan will serve fundamental interests of our nations.
Japan, which recognizes the islands as Northern Territories, argues that the annexation was illegal and demands their return. At the same time, Russia claims it was a legitimate outcome of the war and calls them the Southern Kurils.
In the first talks since Kishida took office as prime minister this week, the leaders agreed to press ahead with negotiations based on previous agreements, including a 1956 joint declaration, which states that two of the four islands (Shikotan and the Habomai group of islets) will be handed over to Japan after the conclusion of a peace treaty.