Japan-Russia Summit Meeting

May 30, 2003

A Japan-Russia summit meeting between Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who was visiting Russia to attend the international events dedicated to the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, and President Vladimir Putin took place from 11:10 to 11:38 on May 30. The following is an overview of the talks.

The summit talks were held at a "Comprehensive School of Higher Skill in Sports" in which President Putin belonged, and before their meeting the two leaders observed a judo training. On that occasion, judo outfits were presented to the Russian side by Tokai University Professor Yasuhiro Yamashita, who was visiting Russia to give coaching. It was also decided that Japanese and Russian teams would hold a joint training camp in Japan to receive coaching from Professor Yamashita.

1. Overall Bilateral Relations and the Issue of Concluding a Peace Treaty

(1) After expressing gratitude the Russian side for its hospitality at the time of his official visit to Russia in January, Prime Minister Koizumi made the following statements:

"The Japan-Russia Action Plan," adopted on the occasion of my visit to Russia in January, stipulates that there should be an expansion of exchange between Japan and Russia in various fields toward achieving the goals of solving the northern territories issues and thus concluding a peace treaty. Such an expansion of exchange is important for increasing the sense of trust and familiarity between the peoples of the two countries and their leaders. I myself believe that this is a good method for conclusion of a peace treaty.

(2) In response, President Putin made the following statements:

(a) Russia has a strong desire to solve the territorial issue, which is an extremely important issue, and does not think that this problem should be put off or buried in the mud. I sincerely wish for the expansion of relations with Japan. This is based on my belief that the development of relations between Japan and Russia is important not only for bilateral ties but also in the context of the international community as a whole. I think that Japan is important for Russia and Russia is important for Japan. There must be no obstacles to our relations.

(b) It is necessary to look at the issue of the conclusion of a peace treaty with an open mind. We should avoid the use of this issue in domestic politics. There might be people who try to incite this issue for personal interests, but we should aim to solve the issue so as not to fall into a vicious circle. I also want to give instructions from above so as to further advance the consultations and work between experts from Japan and Russia.

2. Japan-Russia Economic Relations

(1) Prime Minister Koizumi made the following statements:

(a) I am delighted that the Action Plan is steadily being realized. In the energy field, for example, much progress has been achieved in the Sakhalin Project. In addition, Japan-Russia cooperation in the dismantling of nuclear submarines will shortly take concrete form. Such cooperation is extremely important from the perspective of interdependence and mutual benefit. Basically Japan and Russia have complementary ties. For instance, while Japan does not have any resources, Russia has abundant resources. The development of such relations of interdependence and mutual benefit will lead to enlivening the mood of friendship.

(b) In particular, there is much interest in Japan in the Nakhodka Pipeline Project. There is much hope for the realization of this project, which would be extremely significant from the perspective of mutual benefit.

(2) In response, President Putin made the following statements:

(a) I welcome progress in work for the development of the Far East (Sakhalin Project) and the advance of cooperation relating to the Nakhodka pipeline. There is the argument that the China route pipeline could be constructed more quickly and more cheaply, but developing the undeveloped resources of Siberia and sending them to the Asia-Pacific region and the world market are also important. It is important for experts to conduct careful studies from this perspective.

(b) I welcome the fact that, compared with other countries, cooperation with Japan is advancing in the field of denuclearization.

3. Invitation to President Putin to Visit Japan

In response to Prime Minister Koizumi's invitation for him to visit Japan, President Putin said that he would gladly visit Japan and would discuss the matter from now on, although it was necessary to give careful thought to the schedule in view of the presidential election next March.

4. Exercises in the Far East

Prime Minister Koizumi stated that Japan places importance on the promotion of defense exchange between Japan and Russia but is concerned that part of the exercises that Russia is planning to conduct in the Far East this summer might be held in the area of four northern islands. In response, President Putin stated that he understood Prime Minister Koizumi's problem awareness and would hold discussions on the issue so as not to exert a negative impact on Japan-Russia relations.

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