VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested on Wednesday that Russia and Japan sign a peace treaty by the end of the year without any preconditions.
A signed peace treaty would better position the two countries to solve their outstanding issues from the past several decades, Putin told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a plenary session of the fourth Eastern Economic Forum here.
Earlier in the day when addressing the forum, Abe said that the absence of a peace treaty between Japan and Russia was abnormal and he suggested a change in the status quo.
Russia and Japan have rival claims to a group of Pacific islands, called the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.
The territorial spat has prevented the two countries from signing a post-World War II peace treaty and hindered their diplomatic and trade relations.
In September 2017, Putin and Abe agreed to conduct joint economic activities on the controversial islands and prioritized projects in aquaculture, electricity, greenhouse facilities, garbage disposal and tourism.