TOKYO: Japan and Russia’s foreign ministers held a telephone talk on Thursday as the two countries seek to finally resolve a peace treaty and issues of sovereignty over disputed islands bordering the two East Asian powers.
Yoshimasa Hayashi, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, told his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, that Japan attaches “great importance” to Japan-Russia relations and looked forward to exchanging views for developing bilateral relations.
Hayashi suggested the two countries could cooperate in a broad range of fields, such as politics, the economy and culture, but also raised the issue of the long-delayed peace treaty between Japan and Russia.
The two ministers discussed bilateral relations, joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands, the Four-Island Exchange Program, and allowing citizens to visit graves on the islands.
Hayashi and Lavrov also exchanged views regarding regional issues, including Ukraine and Belarus. In addition, they discussed North Korea’s nuclear and missile activities.
Regarding the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea, Hayashi asked for Russia’s understanding and cooperation in helping to resolve the matter.
To conclude, Minister Hayashi stated that he was looking forward to meeting Minister Lavrov in person.