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Japanese Prime Minister Tells Parliament, He Will Visit Russia As Soon As Possible

Jan. 20, 2017 (EIRNS)—Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is already expected to visit Russia twice this year to further the agreements arranged during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Japan last December. Abe affirmed his intention to visit Russia "without delay" to discuss further progress on a peace treaty, he told the opening of the national Parliament’s plenary session on Friday.

"I shall pay a visit to Russia this year without delay in order to use the convenient occasion," he said, adding that "settlement of the territory issue, which continues for more than 70 years now, is not easy."

He said that Russian-Japanese economic activities on Kuril Islands will be exceptional and promised "to move step by step towards signing of a peace treaty."

On Jan. 18, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said at a meeting with Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko, who is also in charge of economic relations with Russia, that Russia plans to receive Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe twice this year.

"We face a very challenging task because outcomes of the visit of the Russian President to Japan are excellent, but we have to work out two visits of Japan’s prime minister this year—in April and September. This is very serious,"

the Russian official said.

In his address before the Parliament, Abe said:

"Last month, during the visit of Russia’s President to Japan, we shared the sincere inclination to settle problems. We have agreed to begin talks in order to have joint activities on all the four northern islands in the framework of a ‘special system,’ and agreed that former residents of those islands would be able to visit freely the native places and the graves.

"And in the framework of the new approach we made an important step on the way towards reaching a peace treaty,"

the prime minister said.

"For maintaining the security in Northeastern Asia, improvement of [Japan’s] relations with Russia is extremely important. However, 70 years after World War II was over, our countries still do not have a peace treaty, which is an abnormal situation."