In 2007, then-Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said that no formal peace treaty would be concluded [JURIST report] between Japan and Russia until Russia relinquishes control of the islands it has occupied since the end of World War II. Possession of the island chain was first transferred from Russia to Japan in 1855 under a friendship treaty. It remained under Japanese control until Russian troops seized the islands during the last days of World War II, an act in violation of the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact [text], signed by both nations on April 13, 1941. Abe and Putin discussed the return of the islands [Kyodo News report] during an economic summit in 2005, but no agreement was reached.
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