Abe makes no progress with Putin in talks on Russia-held islands

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday to seek progress on a decadeslong territorial dispute over a group of islands that have remained under Russian control since the end of World War II.

The meeting came as the two countries are accelerating talks for a postwar peace treaty that has not been concluded due to the territorial dispute, with the focus shifting to whether Abe will secure a deal on the handover of two of the four disputed isles off Hokkaido.

As part of efforts to strengthen mutual trust between Tokyo and Moscow, Abe and Putin are expected to discuss ways to foster joint economic activities on the four islands.

But it remains unclear whether the leaders will find common ground in their 25th summit, after agreeing in Singapore in November to step up their search for a solution on the basis of a 1956 joint declaration issued by Japan and the Soviet Union.

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