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    COUNCIL OF WISE MEN TO HAVE FIRST MEETING IN MOSCOW

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - The first meeting of the Council of Wise Men of Russia and Japan is to be held in Moscow on Wednesday. Its participants will compare notes on the present state of Russian-Japanese ties and tasks facing it. They will also discuss the future possible development of Russian-Japanese relations in various fields.

    The council was set up on October 20, 2003 during the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at Bangkok's APEC summit. It is tasked to promote strategic cooperation between the two countries in economic, political, cultural, educational and scientific matters. A 14-member council is designed to become an effective body whose proposals and recommendations for the development of Russian-Japanese links are reported directly to the two leaders.

    On the Russian side the council is led by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Its members are the first woman cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, head of the Russian Centre for International Scientific and Cultural Cooperation of the Foreign Ministry of Russia, academicians Yevgeny Velikhov and Viktor Sadovnichy, Georgy Boss, vice-speaker of the State Duma (lower house of parliament), Arkady Volsky, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, and Sergei Bogdanchikov, Rosneft president.

    On the Japanese side, the council is headed by ex-prime minister Yoshiro Mori. Among council members are Olympic judo champion Yasuhiro Yamashita, Hiroshi Okuda, Japanese Business Federation president, and Tasuku Takagaki, president of the Japanese association for trade with Russia and countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

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