Japan's new Prime Minister Kishida Fumio and Russian President Vladimir Putin have confirmed that their countries will continue negotiations for a peace treaty. The negotiations will include the territorial issue of four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.
Kishida talked with Putin by phone on Thursday evening for the first time since he took office. The conversation lasted about 25 minutes.
Putin congratulated Kishida on becoming prime minister. In response, Kishida offered congratulations to Putin on his birthday.
Kishida expressed hope to further develop bilateral relations on all matters for mutual benefit, including the signing of a peace treaty.
Putin responded that he intends to maintain dialogue regarding the entire spectrum of bilateral issues.
The two leaders confirmed they will continue negotiations based on various bilateral agreements, including the one reached in 2018 in Singapore between former prime minister Abe Shinzo and Putin.
After the phone call, Kishida told reporters that he wants to move bilateral relations forward as a whole, while building mutual trust with Putin through continuing talks.
The peace treaty talks, including the territorial issue, have been stalled. Russia controls the four 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.