MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated Wednesday his readiness to conduct constructive cooperation with Japan in resolving bilateral and international problems.
Putin showed the stance in a telegram of congratulation he sent to Yoshihide Suga, who was elected Japan’s new prime minister on Wednesday, according to the Russian presidential office.
In his message to Suga, the president said many achievements have been made lately for the progress of Japan-Russia dialogue thanks to efforts by former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
He also said there is no doubt that the two countries’ cooperation meets the interests of Japanese and Russian people and contributes to the stability and enhanced safety of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
In addition, Putin said he feels confident that Suga’s abundant political experiences would help him in doing his job as prime minister.
The Putin administration is apparently hoping that Suga will inherit Abe’s enthusiasm about diplomacy toward Russia and lay stress on dialogue with Moscow.
At the same time, the president has taken an increasingly hard line against Japan regarding the long-standing bilateral territorial dispute over four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories. It has become even more difficult for Russia to make a concession over territorial issues due to the effectuation in July of a new Russian constitutional clause banning the cession of Russia’s territory.