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    YOSHIRO MORI INTENDS TO DEVOTE HIS LIFE TO DEVELOPING RUSSO-JAPANESE TIES

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    MOSCOW, 14 April (RIA Novosti)-Former Japanese premier Yoshiro Mori is intending to devote the rest of his life to the development of friendly relations between Japan and Russia.

    "I would like to assure everyone here, that I shall dedicate the rest of my life to developing friendly relations between Russia and Japan," he said after Vladimir Putin conferred the Order of Friendship on him during a ceremony.

    "I am touched that I have received the order from a person whom I respect very much and see as an important friend, that is from Vladimir," Mr. Mori said.

    Mr. Mori reminded those present that he had been granted the title of professor of the Moscow State University of International Relations last year.

    The ex-premier also described how he had visited Irktusk, where some of his father's ashes were interred, to tell his father about the honor he had received.

    According to him, his father had also received an honorary degree after dedicating thirty years to improving Russo-Japanese relations. "I had the impression that I can be equated with my father now, as Vladimir Putin has conferred the Order of Friendship on me," Mr. Mori said.

    Mr. Mori also quoted his father: "If my ashes are buried in Russia, then my son will work for the development of Russo-Japanese relations." "This words sound increasingly strong in my heart," Yoshiro Mori admitted.

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