Japanese Foreign Minister to visit Moscow

Fumio Kishida told participants of a Russian-Japanese Forum that he was personally willing to organize Vladimir Putin’s trip to Japan.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said he plans to visit Moscow, as preparations for Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan gain momentum.

“I am personally willing to organize a visit by President Vladimir Putin to Japan and, given the progress of this preparation, plan to make a trip to Russia,” Kishida said in opening remarks that were read out at the third annual Russian–Japanese Forum on Cooperation in Business, Technology and Culture. “I hope all the necessary conditions will be established in the near future.”

The Japanese minister spoke of the last personal meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which took place last November on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Beijing. The leaders agreed to begin preparations for the organization of Putin’s visit to Japan later this year.

Kishida said deputy foreign minister level consultations in preparation for the trip were held in February. During these talks, political issues were touched upon, he said. “A few days ago, the sides also discussed economic matters,” Kishida said in his message.

He also expressed confidence that today's Russian-Japanese forum would definitely “provide an opportunity to have an active discussion between prominent figures of both countries, which will contribute to the development of bilateral relations in the future.”

Kishida said that there were ups and downs in Japan-Russian relations. “Over the years, there were certainly some hard times,” he said. “However, I want to emphasize that, the continuation of dialogue between Japan and Russia is of great importance at any time and under any circumstances.” He added that people-to-people contact between the nations created a degree of mutual trust.

In his address, Kishida also said that, on the basis of an earlier agreement between Abe and Putin, 2014 had been declared the year of exchanges in the field of martial arts. “There is no doubt that these exchanges have helped deepen trust and understanding between the citizens of Japan and Russia,” he said.

The third annual Russian–Japanese Forum on Cooperation in Business, Technology and Culture is being organized by Russian daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Japanese newspaper Mainichi in Tokyo. The forum aimstostrengthen the relationship between Russia and Japan through dialogue between members of the business community, political figures and eminent personalities of both countries.

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