SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says negotiations with Russia are accelerating toward a long-awaited peace treaty over four islands that both have claimed since World War II.
Abe is eager to unleash new trade and energy business with Russia that has been hung up by the dispute, especially amid Japanese tensions with China. Abe told reporters Saturday that the pace of negotiations over the islands since last year "has been very fast. We want to keep this sense of speed." Abe met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Sochi Olympics, in their fifth meeting in a year.
"We should not kick this can down the road," Abe said. The islands, currently run by Russia, are known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the southern Kurils in Russia.