Japan-Russia Relations

November 19, 2016
 On November 19 (local time), for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes, Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, held a Japan-Russia Summit Meeting with Mr. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, President of the Russian Federation, in Lima, Peru, during his visit to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting. The meeting commenced at 5:30 p.m. and consisted of an approximately 35-minute meeting with other participants present, followed by an approximately 35-minute meeting between the two leaders, just with interpreters. This was the final opportunity for the two leaders to directly confirm with each other the state of preparations for President Putin’s visit to Japan, which is scheduled for next month.

1. General remarks

(1) President Putin positively evaluated the reopening of mechanisms for advancing bilateral relations, including between diplomatic authorities, and the ongoing work on vitalizing the relationship in the trade and economic fields, too.
(2) Prime Minister Abe welcomed that active discussions in a broad range of fields are taking place ahead of President Putin’s visit to Japan next month and that the preparations are steadily moving ahead, and explained that preparations to visit his hometown of Nagato City in Yamaguchi Prefecture are also fully underway. In addition, Prime Minister Abe stated that he hopes to hold a meeting in Tokyo on the day after the December 15 meeting in Nagato City. Prime Minister Abe also pointed out that after his visit to Vladivostok, political dialogues between the two countries have been conducted actively such as the visit of Ms. Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation to Japan, the visit of Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry and Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia to Russia, the visit of Mr. Shotaro Yachi, Secretary General of the National Security Secretariat to Russia, and the visit of Mr. Igor Shuvalov, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation to Japan to hold the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues.

2. Preparations for President Putin’s visit to Japan

(1) President Putin made positive comments with regard to the active political dialogue and mutual visits by leading political figures between the two countries, expressed the view that the eight-point cooperation plan proposed by Prime Minister Abe is purposeful in advancing the Japan-Russia relationship, and mentioned working out the details of that plan. President Putin also stated that he hopes to further increase people-to-people exchanges as well.
(2) In response, Prime Minister Abe explained that since the Summit Meeting in Vladivostok in September, he has been issuing direct instructions to move the preparations for President Putin’s visit to Japan forward. Prime Minister Abe stated that Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, will visit Russia ahead of the President’s visit to Japan to finalize the details.

3. Issue of concluding a peace treaty

 With regard to the issue of concluding a peace treaty, Prime Minister Abe stated that he has been further developing his ideas over this issue for the past two and a half months given the result of lengthy and earnest discussion during the meeting in Vladivostok. President Putin mentioned that negotiations between the two countries’ foreign ministries on concluding a peace treaty are continuing. Afterwards, the two leaders also exchanged views on this issue between themselves only.

4. Economic field

 Commenting on the economic field, Prime Minister Abe welcomed the fact that works to identify priority projects in the run-up to President Putin’s visit to Japan have been progressing based on the outcomes of the high-level working group on the eight-point cooperation plan that was convened in Moscow when Minister Seko visited Russia and also welcomed that an agreement has been reached on the work plan for materializing the cooperation plan. Minister Seko handed the agreed document to the two leaders.

5. International affairs

 Prime Minister Abe pointed out that Russia should play a constructive role in relation to international issues such as Syria, North Korea, and Ukraine. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe stated that he hopes to have a discussion with President Putin in Yamaguchi over those issues after having an initial exchange of views between Foreign Minister Kishida and Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

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