Tokyo is not abandoning the preparation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan this year, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at a news conference on Friday. “Our plans have not changed in the present situation,” he said, answering a question about the possible impact of the situation around Syria on the visit’s preparation.
In September, Putin met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York. The Russian leader said during the meeting that the two countries had prospects for improving mutual trade the volume of which had recently declined. He also said that the two sides intensified contacts in various fields. In particular, for the first time in several years, a meeting of the bilateral intergovernmental commission on trade and economic issues has been held. The two countries are also maintaining contacts through the Security Councils’ secretaries.
At the meeting, the leaders agreed to continue the dialogue, using, in particular, international forums. Russia also says it is ready to consider the issue of the time frame of the visit of the Russian president to Japan if Tokyo makes a concrete proposal.
Putin said, “At the start of the meeting, I would like to note that our contacts in different directions have intensified. For the first time in several years, an inter-governmental commission held a session.” He added that secretaries of the two state’s security councils also maintain contacts.
“However, our trade turnover has decreased, though I am confident that there are good prospects [for increasing it], and a large number of joint projects is the best evidence of that,” Putin said.
Further development of dialogue with Russia is in line with Japan’s national interests, and the country should continue preparations for the official visit of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, due this year, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Friday.
“We shall continue, without any changes, preparations for the visit,” he said.
On Tuesday, while commenting on the statement by US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken who said it was necessary to “increase pressure on Russia,” Suga said “under an earlier agreement, Japan will continue preparations for President Putin’s visit.” He spoke positively about the recent round of the Russian-Japanese consultations in Moscow, which featured deputy foreign ministers, and which was devoted to the problem of a peace treaty.
“It was an open exchange of opinions, which lasted for seven hours,” he said. “The constructive dialogue opens the way towards new contacts.” PNA/TASS