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Russian President Putin and Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi
28 September 2005 -- Japan has rejected President Vladimir Putin's insistence on Russian sovereignty over four islands seized by the Soviet army at the end of World War II.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda told reporters today that from an objective standpoint, the islands belong to Japan and Tokyo will continue to claim sovereignty over them.
Putin, answering questions on Russian television yesterday, said international law backed Russian sovereignty over the islands and ruled out any negotiations with Tokyo on that point.
The dispute over the islands, known as the Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty to end World War II hostilities.