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Putin: Peace treaty first, N. islands later

Tsuyoshi Yoshioka / The Yomiuri Shimbun

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Vladivostok, Russia, on Monday.

By Takehito Kudo / Yomiuri Shimbun CorrespondentVLADIVOSTOK, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed Wednesday that Russia and Japan sign a peace treaty by the end of the year without preconditions.

The proposal means that resolving the bilateral issue on the northern territories would effectively be put aside and a conclusion of the peace treaty would happen first.

Putin made the proposal during a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, in response to a question from a coordinator after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivered a speech.

Suga: Isles the priority

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that Japan remains unchanged in its stance to sign a peace treaty with Russia after resolving the issue of the four northern islands.

Suga made the remarks at a press conference in Tokyo after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed signing a peace treaty by the end of the year without preconditions during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.

Suga also said Putin had not mentioned the proposal during a summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday. Speech

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