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Japan, Russia agree to resolve island dispute holding up WWII treaty

MOSCOW -- The leaders of Russia and Japan agreed Monday to revive stalled talks on a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities between the two countries.

Russia and Japan never signed a formal peace treaty after the war because of a dispute over four islands that Soviet forces captured at the end of the war. Still, they have pursued economic ties.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met in Moscow with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said both countries have told their foreign ministries to "intensify contacts for devising a mutually acceptable way of settling the problem."

"President Putin and I confirmed our understanding that it's an abnormal situation when 67 years have gone by after the end of the war between Japan and Russia and no peace agreement has been concluded," Abe said at a news conference following the talks, in which Abe also wants to win more access to energy resources.

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