President Vladimir Putin suggested Wednesday Russia and Japan sign a peace deal “without any preconditions” by the end of the year, a historic proposal to try to solve a territorial dispute after decades of deadlock.
Putin’s sudden proposal came just two days after he said that the two countries’ territorial dispute was unlikely to be settled soon.
The dispute between Russia and Japan centers on the four southernmost islands in the Kuril chain which the Soviet Union occupied at the end of World War II in 1945 but are claimed by Japan.
It has kept the two countries from signing a peace accord.
Putin said the conclusion of such a deal would create a better atmosphere and allow the two countries to “continue to solve all outstanding issues like friends.”
The Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for his part said the two countries “have a duty to future generations.”