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    LUZHKOV: WISE MEN COUNCIL TO GIVE NEW IMPETUS TO DEVELOPMENT OF RUSSO-JAPANESE RELATIONS

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    MOSCOW, April 14 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian-Japanese Wise Men Council can give a new impulse to the development of relations between Russia and Japan, Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, the Council's co-chairman, said at its first session.

    According to him, the organisation's activity will be non-governmental and will be useful and efficient for the leaderships of Russia and Japan.

    The Russo-Japanese Wise Men Council was founded in accordance with the agreement concluded between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in October 2003 at the APEC summit in Bangkok (Thailand).

    The Council consists of seven members from each of the sides. The co-chairmen of the Council are: Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov from the Russian side, and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori from the Japanese side.

    "When Vladimir Putin proposed me to head the Russian part of the Wise Men Council I did not hesitate for a minute," Yury Luzhkov said. "I believe that the idea of the heads of our states to set up this Council is very timely and useful." Yury Luzhkov believes that this approach to cooperation make it possible to come nearer to the solution of common problems and achieve a higher level in mutual relations.

    "Such sessions will be regular, and their regularity will be determined during our discussion," noted Yury Luzhkov.

    Our first session, he continued, will make it possible for the sides to come to know each other more closely and to establish contacts in the sphere of culture and science.

    "Our sessions are useful not only for the heads of the states but also for our peoples," Yury Luzhkov believes.

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