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The Japanese Foreign Ministry has issued a press release following an hour long phone call between Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. The statement confirms that the two discussed the ongoing dispute over the four southernmost of the Kuril Islands (or as Japan refers to them, the Northern Territories).

  • The two discussed the potential for engaging in joint economic activity on the island chain, as well as increasing cooperation on global issues such as climate change.
  • The dispute over the islands remains the major sticking point in Russo-Japanese relations, with all the Kuril Islands having been administered by Russia (and previously the Soviet Union) since the end of WWII but with the four southernmost claimed by Japan. Previous attempts to find a resolution to the dispute have come to naught.