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Rough road ahead for Japan-Russia peace talks

History, joint declaration and pact with US are barriers to official end of WWII

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meet on the sidelines of last year's Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia.   © Reuters

MOSCOW -- Japan and Russia have launched negotiations for a peace treaty to officially end World War II, but formidable obstacles stand in the way of an agreement.

Achieving a resolution on a set of long-disputed islands will be crucial to whether Japan and Russia can reach an accord, but they differ on a wide range of other issues. Gaps in their understanding of history during and after the war, their interpretation of the 1956 Japanese-Soviet Joint Declaration and their views on the Japan-U.S. security treaty are all stumbling blocks in the talks.

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