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Vladimir Putin says Japan is ready to compromise over disputed islands

A Soviet era proposal to return two of the four islands to Tokyo could be revived.

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, right, and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (Alexei Druzhinin/AP)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, right, and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (Alexei Druzhinin/AP)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, right, and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe (Alexei Druzhinin/AP)

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has signalled he is ready to discuss a Soviet-era proposal on settling a decades-old territorial dispute.

Mr Putin said that during their meeting on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Singapore, Mr Abe said Tokyo could resume discussions on a 1956 Soviet proposal to return two of four disputed Pacific islands to Japan.

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Shinzo Abe with Vladimir Putin (Alexei Druzhinin/AP)

Shinzo Abe with Vladimir Putin (Alexei Druzhinin/AP)

Shinzo Abe with Vladimir Putin (Alexei Druzhinin/AP)

Speaking to reporters in Singapore on Thursday, Mr Putin noted that the issue requires additional consideration as the Soviet initiative did not spell out conditions for the islands’ transfer.

The Soviet Union took the four southernmost Kuril Islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, in the closing days of the Second World War.

The dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty.

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