"Our countries have already held the 2+2 format talks. They were interrupted. During a meeting at the highest level last year we came to an understanding that in conditions when the situation in the Asia-Pacific region is complex, it is very important to have frank exchanges of views on security issues," Abe said in the parliament.
"At the moment the time for another round of negotiations has not been set yet but we understand the importance of dialogue with Russia, which is the neighboring country. We believe that the 2+2 format negotiations make sense. And we will continue this dialogue," Abe noted.
On December 15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Abe had agreed during their meeting to restore bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two countries, including contacts in the 2+2 format to solve security issues in the region.
Putin visited Japan on December 15-16, 2016 to meet the Japanese prime minister. The sides also agreed to start developing economic cooperation in the disputed area of four Southern Kuril islands, namely Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, in order to create conditions for negotiations on a peace treaty between the countries.