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International relations

Japan, Russia should discuss sovereignty of disputed islands: Putin

SINGAPORE (Kyodo) -- Russia and Japan need to discuss in upcoming talks the sovereignty of two disputed islands that would be transferred on the conclusion of a peace treaty, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.

A day after holding talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Singapore, Putin noted that a 1956 joint declaration, which will serve as the basis for the forthcoming negotiations, does not specify the islands' sovereignty.

Under the declaration by Japan and the Soviet Union, Moscow agreed to hand over Shikotan and the Habomai islet group to Tokyo once a peace treaty is concluded. Abe and Putin agreed Wednesday to step up negotiations on the treaty.

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