Tokyo, 19 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto said today he is hopeful progress can be made in Japan's long-standing dispute with Russia over four Kurile Islands.
Hashimoto said in Tokyo that he will discuss the issue with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the sidelines of this weekend's Group of Eight summit in Denver. He said he also will seek support from U.S. President Bill Clinton and other fellow G-7 leaders to support Japan's stance on the dispute.
Japan wants Russia to return the four southern Kurile Islands
seized by Soviet troops in the closing days of World War Two. The islands are located at the southern end of the Kurile chain between Russia's Far East and the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. The
territorial dispute has blocked a formal peace treaty.