From the “two-island solution” idea to a new stalemate It was a surprise when Vladimir Putin de facto offered Japan the “two-island” solution. He did so at the end of 2004, as the highest point of Putin-era efforts to solve the problem, but it was, alas, followed by the current stalemate. Despite all speculation about a third term scenario, Putin left the Presidency at the beginning of 2008. But before moving from the Kremlin to the Prime Minister’s office on the bank of the Moscow river, possibly even just for a while, he sincerely tried to make some progress on the territorial dispute with Japan.