Moscow and Tokyo prepare for the Putin-Abe summit

Moscow and Tokyo prepare for the Putin-Abe summit

A series of new intergovernmental agreements is expected to be signed during a December visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan. However, Moscow expects that Japan will consider an issue on lifting anti-Russian sanctions, Valentina Matviyenko, the Speaker of the Federation Council, stated at a meeting with Hiroshige Seko, the Minister of Economics, Trade, and Industry of Japan, in Tokyo. The Federation Council intends to organize a permanent forum with the help of their Japanese colleagues to improve a bilateral dialogue. The Russian mass media recall that last month the Upper Chamber of the parliament suggested its vision of a settlement of the dispute on the Kuril Islands – Andrei Klimov, the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council for Foreign Affairs, said that giving islands to Japan was unacceptable, but agreements on additional rights for Japanese citizens and companies were possible. 

According to Japan Times, Shotaro Yachi, head of the secretariat of Japan’s National Security Council, is expected to visit Russia for three days from Tuesday to lay the groundwork for a bilateral summit set for Dec. 15, it was learned Wednesday. Yachi, a key diplomatic aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will meet with senior Russian officials, including Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council and one of the closest aides to President Vladimir Putin, to talk about the two countries’ territorial dispute and bilateral security cooperation, informed sources said.

The bilateral territorial row concerns four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands, which were seized by the former Soviet Union from Japan at the end of World War II and have been claimed by Japan. The issue has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from concluding a peace treaty to formally end their wartime hostilities.

Japan Times reminds that the Abe-Putin summit is slated to take place in Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, home to Abe’s constituency, for discussions on the island issue and bilateral cooperation. Before the December meeting, Abe and Putin are slated to hold bilateral talks on the sidelines of a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Peru on Nov. 19 and 20.

According to Japan Times, many key meetings and events are slated to take place in the lead-up to the December summit between Abe and Putin. Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, who doubles as minister for economic cooperation with Russia, will visit Russia. On Nov. 15, the Japan-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Trade and Economic Issues, a ministerial forum, will hold a meeting in Tokyo. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is also planning to pay a visit to Russia before the bilateral summit.

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