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46% of Japanese favor initial return of 2 islands from Russia

Abe-Putin agreement on peace treaty gains wide support, Nikkei poll finds

Shikotan forms part of the four southern Kuril Islands that Japan calls the Northern Territories. The Japanese government is exploring the idea of seeking to win back just two -- Shikotan and Habomai -- from Russia as a start.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Nearly half the Japanese public supports the idea of seeking an initial return of two islands in a decades-long territorial dispute with Russia rather than pushing to regain all four at once, the latest Nikkei/TV Tokyo survey finds.

The Northern Territories, Japan's name for the southern Kuril Islands, are administered by Russia but claimed by Tokyo. The dispute has kept the two countries from signing a treaty formally ending World War II hostilities.

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