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    JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER KOIZUMI HOPES FOR SOONEST SIGNING OF PEACE TREATY WITH RUSSIA

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    MOSCOW, March 15, 2004 - RIA Novosti. Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi hopes for the acceleration of the process of signing a peace treaty with Russia, says a congratulatory message of the head of the Japanese government sent on Monday to Vladimir Putin on his re-election to the post of the President of Russia.

    As RIA Novosti was told in the Japanese Embassy in Moscow the message points out that the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the inter-state relations will be marked in 2005. "Now the Japanese-Russian relations are on the threshold of the important period," the Prime Minister noted.

    Mr. Koizumi expressed the hope that together with Vladimir Putin "in conditions of the further effective fulfillment of the Japanese-Russian plan of actions and development of bilateral relations he "will be able to make a serious advance towards earliest signing of the peace treaty."

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