President Vladimir Putin said Friday it is "nonsense" that Russia and Japan have not concluded a peace treaty following World War II while criticizing Tokyo for repeatedly changing its position in relevant talks.
Speaking at an economic forum in Vladivostok in Far East Russia, Putin also expressed his concern that U.S. forces may install a missile system on Japanese soil near its border with Russia if a peace accord is signed, urging Japan to "ensure a peaceful future" where such a development would not be allowed.
The territorial dispute over Russian-controlled, Tokyo-claimed islands off Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido has prevented the two nations from concluding a peace treaty.
Putin said the countries have repeatedly agreed on joint work on the islands, but Japan "repeatedly revised its stance."
Russia wants Japan to recognize that the four islands -- known as the Southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan -- were legitimately acquired following Tokyo's 1945 surrender in the war, while Japan takes the view that the seizure was illegal.