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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Photostream : Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro meets Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Kitazawa

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro (R), accompanied by his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa (L), reviews the honor guard prior to their talks at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo on January 14, 2011. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro (R) reviews the honor guard at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo on January 14, 2011. Purunomo held talks with his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa. (Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro (R) shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Toshimi Kitazawa (L) prior to their talks at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo on January 14, 2011. (Photo by YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

Japanese PM says considering visit to Kuril Islands

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan

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November 17, 2010 (KATAKAMI / RIA NOVOSTI) — Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Wednesday that a possible visit to the disputed Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories by Japan, deserved careful consideration.

“Given how important the prime minister’s visit [to the islands] is, it must be considered seriously. At the moment I do not have any concrete plans,” Kan said in a speech to the Japanese parliament.

Earlier this month, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev aggravated a long-standing dispute over four of the islands, by becoming the first Russian or Soviet leader to visit one of them.

Both countries have laid claims to the islands since they were occupied by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II and the dispute has prevented them from signing a peace treaty to formally end wartime hostilities.

The Japanese premier reiterated Japan’s stance on the status of the islands.

“Japan’s principal position that the Northern Territories are part of our country and that the territorial dispute must be resolved through the signing of a peace treaty, has not changed,” he said.

Last week Medvedev met with Kan during the APEC summit in the Japanese city of Yokohama. Medvedev invited Kan to visit “any part of Russia, including the Far East.”

Kan said he “wanted to develop friendly relations between Russia and Japan on a basis of trust, as between two partners.”

TOKYO, November 17

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