Putin: Conditions not yet ready for continuing peace treaty talks with Japan

Russian President Vladimir Putin says conditions are not yet ready for his country to continue peace treaty negotiations with Japan.

Putin spoke to representatives of international news agencies on Wednesday on the sidelines of an economic forum in St. Petersburg.

The Japanese government maintains its unwavering commitment to resolving the issue of the Northern Territories and concluding a peace treaty with Russia.
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.

Putin did not rule out resuming the talks, but insisted this would only happen when the necessary conditions are met.

He mentioned that Japan had announced it was joining attempts to achieve a strategic defeat of Russia.
Putin indicated that is an obstacle, and Japan should change its position first.

He suggested in January he would make his first visit to the islands someday.

On Wednesday, he said he has no plans to go there for now due to his busy schedule, but he sees no reason not to do so in the future.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Hayashi Yoshimasa said in Tokyo on Thursday that Russia's response is unfair and totally unacceptable, as it amounts to shifting responsibility on Japan.
He said the Japanese government cannot say anything specific because Japan-Russia relations are in a harsh situation due to the invasion of Ukraine, but it will continue to uphold its policy of resolving outstanding issues and signing a peace treaty.

Asked about the possibility of Putin traveling to the islands, Hayashi said visits by Russian VIPs are not consistent with Japan's position. He said Japan will continue to monitor the situation carefully and respond appropriately.

Moscow has been taking a tough stance against Japan since the Japanese government, along with Western countries, imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.