Abe, Putin meeting in Moscow

Abe, Putin meeting in Moscow

The leaders of Japan and Russia are sitting together in the Kremlin discussing major diplomatic issues between their countries. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is hoping to move closer to a solution on the issue of Russian-held islands claimed by Japan as well as a peace treaty. The countries never signed one after World War Two because of the territorial dispute.

In November they agreed to accelerate treaty negotiations based on a 1956 joint declaration.

It states that after a treaty is concluded, two of the four islands would be handed over to Japan.

Abe reportedly wants to finalize the broad terms of an agreement when Putin comes to Japan for the G20 in June. But a Kremlin spokesperson downplayed expectations of a quick resolution.

Russia controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.