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Japan mulls joint administration of disputed Russian-held isles

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Japan is considering proposing joint administration of disputed islands held by Russia in the hope of unblocking an issue that has bedevilled their relations for 70 years, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday.

[TOKYO] Japan is considering proposing joint administration of disputed islands held by Russia in the hope of unblocking an issue that has bedevilled their relations for 70 years, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet on Dec 15 in Japan to begin negotiations on the proposal, the financial daily said, citing unnamed Japanese and Russian government sources.

The dispute over the four islands off the coast of Hokkaido - which Japan calls its Northern Territories and Russia considers the southern tip of its Kurile chain - has prevented Tokyo and Moscow signing a peace treaty formally ending the war they fought with each other in World War Two.

Japan has long demanded that the sovereignty of all the territories be resolved before a peace treaty is signed, but some politicians and experts have said Mr Abe, who has promised a"new approach" on the dispute, may alter course.

REUTERS