Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting
March 21, 2018
On March 21, Mr. Taro Kono, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held his fifth Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with Mr. Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (meeting: approximately two hours and 40 minutes; working lunch: approximately one hour and 30 minutes).
- 1. Upcoming political dialogue and the bilateral relations
- 2. The Northern Territories issue
- 3. International affairs
1. Upcoming political dialogue and the bilateral relations
- The two ministers confirmed that Mr. Takeo Akiba, Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, will hold the Japan-Russia Strategic Dialogue with Mr. Titov, Vladimir Gennadievich, the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, in Moscow on April 19. They also confirmed that a vice-ministerial-level Japan-Russia security discussion will be held in Tokyo in May.
- With regard to cooperation in the field of security relating to “non-traditional threats”, the two ministers shared the view that Japan and Russia will also begin jointly holding higher-level training by November this year, in addition to the existing training program for counter narcotic officers from Afghanistan and Central Asian countries that will take place in September this year.
- In the field of the economy, the two ministers confirmed that they will cooperate toward realizing the “Eight-point Cooperation Plan” in order to enable the citizens of both countries to feel the actual results.
- The two sides signed the 2018-2019 Japan-Russia Inter-Foreign Ministry Consultation Plan. (Japan-Russia Heads of Delegation Meeting of the Six-Party Talks was added).
2. The Northern Territories issue
The two ministers discussed the way to promote the initiatives for realizing the joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands and initiatives for the freer entry to the islands by the former island residents based on the recognition that steady advancement of these initiatives will contribute to cultivating trust between the citizens of both countries, for the purpose of concluding a peace treaty.
(1) The Joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands
- The two ministers shared the view that they will hold the Director-General-level working groups (*) in mid-April, and will work intensively toward a possible summit meeting in May. (*(1) Working group about the details of the projects; (2) Working group about the movement of people)
(2) Humanitarian measures for the former island residents
- The two ministers shared the view that they will hold concrete discussions in order to implement (1) grave visit by airplane; (2) establishment of temporary additional entry/exit points; and (3) grave visit to restricted areas this year again.
3. International affairs
(1) Attack on the former Russian intelligence officer in the United Kingdom
- Minister Kono stated that the use of chemical weapons cannot be tolerated, and the most important thing is to clarify the facts. The two ministers then exchanged views on the incident.
(2) North Korea
- Minister Kono expressed the view that there is a need to pay close attention to North Korea’s actions in order to ascertain its intention to “denuclearize.” He also explained that Japan hopes to continue to apply maximum pressure together with Russia in order not to repeat past mistakes. On that basis, the two foreign ministers shared the view that amid moves to the upcoming inter-Korea summit meeting and U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, they will coordinate closely on achieving the denuclearization of North Korea, which is a common goal of Japan and Russia.