Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party considers that talks with Russia on a peace treaty may drag on over serious differences between the two countries, TBS TV channel reported on Wednesday citing informed sources, TASS reported.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin is a challenging partner at talks. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has good personal relations with him, but this does not mean that the territorial issue will be solved quickly. The talks may drag on," the report said.
Meanwhile, Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun says that dialogue between Moscow and Tokyo may be held rather successfully. "At the recent meeting the two countries’ leaders again confirmed the course towards overcoming previous positions, solving the problem of the Northern Territories (the way Japan calls the southern part of the Kuril Islands] and signing a peace treaty," the newspaper says.
"It’s highly likely that a general agreement could be reached on a peace treaty by the time President Putin pays a visit to Japan in June during the upcoming G20 summit in the country," it notes.
According to the newspaper, the peace treaty with Russia would make a big contribution to ensuring Japan’s security in conditions when "the real power of the United States, Tokyo’s ally, is relatively declining."
Russia is also important in terms of resources and energy, the newspaper says. Japan is 80% dependent on the Middle East as an oil supplier. However, there is growing instability in the light of the situation around Iran and Syria. There are big benefits in sharing the risks if Japan could agree on large-scale oil and natural gas supplies from Russia.
The Mainichi Shimbun reminds that the two leaders have agreed to step up talks on a peace treaty based on the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956, which includes a provision on handing over to Japan Shikotan Island as well as a number of smaller uninhabited islands called the Habomai Islands after the document is signed.
The Japanese government is searching for a solution based on a compromise strategy known as "two plus alpha," which means handing over Shikotan and Habomai and fostering joint economic activity on Iturup and Kunashir Islands, which will remain part of Russia.