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Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus

In recent years, Russia has adopted a policy to strengthen its relations with the Asia-Pacific region and invigorate development in Eastern Siberia and eastward by integrating Far East Russia and Eastern Siberia into the Asia-Pacific region. Against this backdrop, President Medvedev is committed to address diplomacy vis-�-vis Japan as one of its priority issues.

Throughout 2009, active political dialogues took place between Japan and Russia at various levels, including summit meetings. Following the inauguration of the Hatoyama administration, in particular, leaders of the two countries reaffirmed their mutual intention to develop a new Japan-Russia relationship and agreed to act as partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Enhancing cooperation and partnership between Japan and Russia in the Asia-Pacific region is not only consistent with both countries� strategic interests but can also contribute to the stability and prosperity of the region. To achieve these goals, the Japan has been engaging in intensive negotiations with the Russia with the strong intention to reach a final solution of the Northern Territories issue, which is the greatest outstanding issue between the two countries, thereby concluding a peace treaty.

As for countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus, year 2009 added momentum to further development of bilateral relationship with Japan and each countries, including the opening of a Japanese Embassy in Georgia, visits made by every foreign ministers from three Caucasian countries, and also the visit by Turkmen president to Japan and the summit talks, which was held during the visit contributed to deepen political dialogue and economic relations with Turkmenistan. Japan intends to further strengthen its relations with countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, which are abundant in natural resources, including energy resources, and are of geopolitical importance as situated on a crossroads bringing together Asia and Europe as well as Russia and the Middle East, not only through bilateral means but also through such frameworks as the �Central Asia+Japan� Dialogue.

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