Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono will pay an official visit to Moscow and hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on January 14, the Japanese Foreign Ministry reported on Friday, Trend reports referring to TASS.

"Foreign Minister Kono will pay a visit to Russia from January 12 to January 16. On January 14, he will hold a meeting with Russia's top diplomat Sergey Lavrov. During the meeting, the parties will discuss bilateral relations, primarily, the peace treaty issue," the ministry said.

At the end of last year, Kono and Lavrov were tasked with overseeing the negotiation process on a peace treaty. The negotiations will be conducted by Deputy Foreign Ministers Takeo Mori and Igor Morgulov who will be the Japanese and Russian leaders' special envoys.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed at a meeting in Singapore on November 14 to intensify Russian-Japanese negotiations on signing a peace treaty based on the Joint Declaration of October 19, 1956.

The Joint Declaration ended the state of war between both nations. The two countries resumed diplomatic and consular relations, but no peace treaty has been signed so far. Under Article 9 of the declaration, the Soviet Union agreed to hand over Shikotan and Habomai islands as a gesture of good will once a peace treaty is ultimately signed. The declaration was ratified by the two countries' parliaments in December 1956.

However, in response to Japan's signing a security treaty with the United States in 1960, the Soviet Union revoked its liabilities on the transfer of the islands. The Soviet government said back then that the islands would be handed over to Japan only when all foreign forces were withdrawn from its territory.

Source: TREND News Agency