Japan vows to strengthen economic ties with Russia

NAOTO KAN

Jan 24 (KATAKAMI.COM / RIA NOVOSTI) — Japan plans to develop economic cooperation with Russia, the country’s prime minister, Naoto Kan, said on Monday.

“We will broaden cooperation with Russia in the economic sphere, including the development of natural resources,” Kan said during the opening session of the Japanese parliament.

Relations between the two countries, who remain technically at war since no peace agreement has been signed to end WWII hostilities, soured in November when Russian President Dmitry Medvedev paid a visit to one of the four disputed Kuril Islands (known as Northern Territories in Japan) separating the East China Sea from the Pacific Ocean. The islands were annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II.

Kan described Medvedev’s trip as “very regrettable” and fired Japan’s ambassador to Moscow for failure to timely inform Tokyo about the visit.

Kan pledged on Monday to pursue the resolution of the issue and the signing of a peace agreement with Russia.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said he would “apply all forces to resolve the issue,” adding that he was planning to discuss the dispute with the Russian authorities during his visit to Moscow on February 10.  (*)

TOKYO, January 24

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