(Provisional Translation)

Opening Statements by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation at the Joint Press Conference Following the Japan-Russian Federation Summit

January 10, 2003
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(President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin)

Respected ladies and gentlemen, I am extremely pleased to welcome the Prime Minister of Japan and all of the members of his delegation to the Kremlin here in Moscow. The Summit Meeting that we held this time was of particular significance in advancing relations between our countries. Russia and Japan are nations that play extremely important roles in the international community. For that reason, I believe that it is imperative that we hold regular dialogue at the highest level so that we can share our perspectives on important regional issues and global issues. Our discussions were held in a constructive manner and we were able to determine the basic direction for cooperation between Russia and Japan over the next few years as well as from the long term perspective.

We also attach great importance to the signing of the Joint Statement by Prime Minister of Japan and President of the Russian Federation Concerning the Adoption of a Japan-Russia Action Plan. This document covers almost all the areas of cooperation between Russia and Japan, and is a future-oriented document which stipulates a common policy aiming for the steady strengthening of our bilateral relations in a systematic manner. I firmly believe that achieving the goals included in the Action Plan will make it possible for relations between Russia and Japan to reach a new level. During our discussions, we confirmed our stance of aiming to resolve the various global issues that both our nations, as well as the international community as a whole, face. Those include measures to combat international terrorism, nuclear disarmament and maintenance of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and enhancing the role of the United Nations.

I had detailed discussions with Prime Minister Koizumi on the outlook for developing cooperation in the economic sector between our countries. We came to the decision that we would direct the various ministries and agencies of our governments to analyze the possibility of activating work concerning various key areas in our trade and economic relations. First of all, we discussed the development of cooperation in the investment sector, and the development and transport of energy resources in Eastern Siberia and the Far East. There are also quite a number of interesting projects in high-tech sectors, including the telecommunications sector.

We also view with importance the development of exchanges between regions.

As in the past, great attention is paid to developing cooperation in the cultural area. In that context, I would like to point out that we proactively supported the holding of the Japanese Culture Festival in Russia in 2003.

Of course, we discussed in detail the issue of concluding our peace treaty, especially during our tete-a-tete. We reconfirmed the importance of steadily continuing dialogue and searching for a path that will lead to agreement. The solution must be mutually acceptable and must give consideration to all interests of both countries and their people.

We intend to continue to develop active political dialogue and dialogue in military areas, and Minister of State for Defense Shigeru Ishiba will soon be visiting Russia. In addition, work continues to be undertaken between our foreign ministries.

In closing, I would like to stress that our meeting today took place in a very relaxed atmosphere and at an extremely favourable level. Furthermore, the Prime Minister and I decided to continue to exchange views this evening in an unofficial atmosphere. Tomorrow, with Moscow and Khabarovsk, the members of your delegation still have a diverse itinerary to complete. I hope that this visit will be a fruitful and fulfilling one for all of you, and indeed that it will be very interesting for you all.

(Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi)

I visited the Russian Federation this time strongly resolved to breathe new life into Japan-Russia relations and to make this year a one in which Japan-Russia relations will enter a new stage. Today, President Putin and I discussed a wide range of issues in a relaxed atmosphere and agreed on the Japan-Russia Action Plan.

The Japan-Russia Action Plan is our common policy for advancing forward in all areas in relations between Japan and the Russian Federation and will serve as our "navigational chart" in our bilateral relations in the future.

First of all, regarding the issue of concluding a peace treaty, we confirmed our determination that, based on the agreements reached thus far, relations between our countries should be fully normalized by solving the issue of the attribution of the four islands and concluding a peace treaty at the earliest possible date.

Taking advantage of this Summit Meeting, we agreed to accelerate the negotiations toward concluding the peace treaty, including at the leaders level.

I intend to devote my utmost to resolve this issue, which is a difficult legacy from the past and the foremost concern between Japan and Russia.

Second, I spoke with President Putin about important issues facing the international community such as North Korea and Iraq. I firmly sensed that there are many issues on which Japan and Russia agree. We confirmed that we would continue to strengthen our cooperation in the international arena.

In particular, regarding North Korea, it is extremely regrettable that today North Korea announced its intention to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We confirmed that this is a matter of grave concern, that we will call on North Korea to swiftly retract that decision, and we agreed to make efforts to realize a peaceful solution to this issue.

Furthermore, we confirmed that solving various issues that remain between Japan and North Korea, including the abduction issue and security issues, based on the Japan-DPRK Pyongyang Declaration is important for easing tensions in the region.

Regarding Iraq, we agreed to urge that unconditional and unrestricted inspections be continued and that Iraq comply with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Third, we discussed cooperation in economic areas and agreed to advance cooperation, especially in developing resources in the Far East and Siberian regions and for the pipeline.

I intend to visit St. Petersburg at the end of May when it celebrates its 300th anniversary. Together with this tercentennial, cultural events are scheduled to take place in regions all around Russia to introduce Japan under the auspices of the "Japanese Culture Festival in Russia 2003." I look forward to this year being a dynamic year for promoting cooperation between Japan and Russia and enhancing mutual understanding.

In closing, I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to President Putin and the people of Russia for the warm welcome that we have received.

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