Japan-Russia Foreign Ministers' Meeting
Overview of Results

May 31, 2005

Foreign Minister Lavrov and Foreign Minister Machimura

In the afternoon of May 31, Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobutaka Machimura held a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, who was on his visit to Japan, at Iikura House of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The summary of the meeting is as follows.

1. Main results of the meeting

(1) With regard to the timing of President Vladimir Putin's upcoming visit to Japan, it was confirmed that the visit would definitely take place by the end of the year. Both governments will continue their coordination efforts and will soon reach agreement on the specific date of the visit.

(2) As for the preparation for President Putin's visit to Japan, it was confirmed that both countries are making progress in preparations on the various documents. Both foreign ministers directed their officials at the working level to finalize the preparations of these documents.

(3) The two sides agreed to continue their vigorous efforts in preparing for President Putin's visit to Japan. Agreement was also reached for political dialogue to be actively conducted in the future between Japan and Russia at the summit and ministerial levels by utilizing such occasions as meetings of the United Nations (UN) and Group of Eight (G8).

(4) Regarding the Northern Territories issue, on the occasion of Foreign Minister Machimura's visit to Russia in January, the ministers shared the view that although a gap remains between the two countries' positions concerning this issue, they would continue to make efforts to bridge this gap. Serious discussion took place during the day's meeting based on this understanding, and it was affirmed that the two sides will carry on the discussion.

2. Peace treaty issue

Foreign Minister Machimura, noting on the Tokyo Declaration on Japan-Russia Relations in 1993 and the Japan-Russia Action Plan which was adopted by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and President Putin in 2003, confirmed that the two sides have a common understanding that it is for both countries' interests to conclude a peace treaty by resolving the issue of which country the Four Islands belong to. In response, Foreign Minister Lavrov confirmed this common understanding and also that all documents between Japan and Russia, including those mentioned by Foreign Minister Machimura, are valid.

3. Specific items of Japan-Russia cooperation

(1) United Nations (UN) Security Council reform

With regard to the draft framework resolution on the Security Council reform proposed by the G4 nations including Japan, Foreign Minister Machimura stated that it was important to gain the understanding and support of the five permanent members (P5), and expressed his intention to closely consult with Russia, adding that Japan was prepared to make revisions to this draft resolution if necessary. In response, Foreign Minister Lavrov commented that he intended to consult on this draft resolution with other P5 members as well as G4 countries. He further stated that Russia would support any reform of the Security Council if abroad consent on it among countries can be achieved. Foreign Minister Lavrov also stated that Russia's position remained unchanged in seeing Japan as an obvious candidate to attain permanent membership in the Security Council in the event that its membership is expanded and that he intended to further advance consultations between Japan and Russia on the issue of Security Council reform.

(2) North Korea

(a) Foreign Minister Machimura remarked that the Six-Party Talks are the best and most appropriate mechanism, and that efforts must be put forth to resume the meeting at the earliest date possible. To this, Foreign Minister Lavrov responded that Russia shares the understanding that the Six-Party Talks are the most appropriate process to undertake and that Russia views it as possible that the meeting will be resumed. Therefore, he stated that it is important for the relevant countries to continue calling on North Korea on this issue.

(b) Furthermore, Foreign Minister Machimura requested Russia's understanding on Japan's position regarding the abduction issue, to which Foreign Minister Lavrov commented that Russia fully understands Japan's position. Foreign Minister Lavrov further noted that Russia has raised this issue with North Korea on various occasions.

(3) Fisheries

(a) With regard to fishery of salmon and trout, Foreign Minister Machimura claimed that the Japanese fishermen could not start their fishing before the scheduled date for three consecutive years due to delay on the Russian side in taking necessary procedures and requested that the Russian government take measures so as to prevent a recurrence. To this, Foreign Minister Lavrov responded that the Russian side is fully aware of this issue and that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been working hard and intends to continue its utmost efforts to prevent a recurrence.

(b) Furthermore, Foreign Minister Machimura requested for an early resolution to the issue of the Japanese fishing boat captain who was seized by Russian authorities and has not yet been released. Foreign Minister Lavrov responded that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been calling on the local authorities in Kamchatka on this issue and will continue working on them as much as possible.

4. International situation

(1) Peace in the Middle East

Foreign Minister Machimura stated that the Middle East peace process is an issue on which Japan and Russia can cooperate with each other. He noted on the recent visit of President Putin to the Middle East and the visit to Japan by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority in mid-May and expressed Japan's intention to closely cooperate with Russia on this issue. In response, Foreign Minister Lavrov his agreed with the idea and stated that Russia is willing to extend cooperation through both bilateral and multilateral channels for the realization of peace in the Middle East.

(2) Iraq

Foreign Minister Lavrov explained that the International Conference on Iraq now being proposed by the United States (US) and the European Union (EU) was originally proposed by Russia. In connection with this, Foreign Minister Lavrov remarked that Russia wishes to cooperate with Japan for its preparation.

(3) Iran

With regard to the nuclear issue of Iran, Foreign Minister Lavrov commented that Russia has been calling on Iran in every possible manner.

(4) Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region

(a) Foreign Minister Machimura stated that Russia is not only a part of Europe, but also of Asia, and that Japan had supported the participation of Russia in the Asia Cooperation Dialogue at its meeting held in Islamabad in April. In response, Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Russia is interested in the Asia-Pacific region and expressed his appreciation for Japan's support for Russia's activities in this region.

(b) Foreign Minister Lavrov requested Japan's support for Russia's participation in the East Asia Summit to be held in December. Foreign Minister Machimura responded that Japan thinks that would be it most natural for Russia to become a member of the East Asia Summit if Russia farther deepened its ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and that Japan would welcome it.

(5) Central Asia

Foreign Minister Machimura stated that Japan has been promoting its cooperation with the Central Asian countries and the first meeting of "Central Asia plus Japan" Dialogue was held last August. He then expressed his intention to hold a second round of the meeting in the near future. In response to this, Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Russia supports the active involvement of Japan in the Central Asian region and proposed to hold the Fourth Japan-Russia Consultation Meeting on Central Asia at the working level. The two sides agreed to hold this consultation meeting in the near future.

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