LUZHKOV MEETS JRS DELEGATES

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MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti) - MP Yukio Hatoyama, Japan-Russia Society president, is leading its delegates on a visit to Moscow. Mayor Yuri Luzhkov received the delegation today.

The mayor vouched to bolster his country's contacts with Japan. He said he was in duty bound to do so as co-chair of the Wise Men's Council and president of the Russian 21st Century Committee, public organisation established to promote Russia's contacts with Japan.

The bilateral Wise Men's Council was set up on a joint initiative of President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan.

On behalf of all JRS members and its fifty provincial branches, Mr. Hatoyama expressed condolence with Russia on its appalling school tragedy in North Ossetia's Beslan.

In a return speech, Mayor Luzhkov referred to Mr. Yukio Hatoyama's memorable ancestry. Ichiro Hatoyama, his grandfather and then Prime Minister, came to Moscow, October 1956, though in a very bad state of health, to sign a Joint Declaration that reinstated Soviet-Japanese diplomatic relations. Contacts with Russia are, with the Japanese, a cause passed from generation to generation, said the mayor. He looks forward to extensive and close links with Japan-Russia Society, Mr. Luzhkov emphatically added.

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