Putin: Ready to continue Japan peace treaty talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin has stressed that he is ready to continue peace treaty negotiations with Japan despite last year's amendment of his country's constitution that banned ceding any part of its territory.

Putin spoke to heads of major international news agencies online during an international economic forum in St. Petersburg on Friday.

Japan and Russia have yet to sign a peace treaty more than 75 years after the end of World War Two, with the issue involving Russian-controlled islands claimed by Japan left unresolved.

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.

Putin said it is necessary to take into account the amendment to Russia's constitution.

But he added that he does not think peace treaty talks with Japan should be suspended.

Putin called Japan and Russia natural partners in many areas, indicating the countries can cooperate in a number of fields.

He said Russia is ready to continue talks based on the understanding that both sides share a strategic interest in concluding a peace treaty.

Russia's constitution does not prohibit border demarcation. Putin is believed to have called for peace treaty negotiations to be maintained as summit talks with Japan have not taken place in nearly two years.