13:03 GMT +327 May 2018
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    A lighthouse at the furthest end of the Yuzhno-Kurilsky cape on the Pacific coast on Kunashir Island of the Greater Kuril Ridge.

    Japan's FM Kishida Wants to Discuss Joint Activities in South Kurils With Lavrov

    © Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova
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    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said Monday that he wants to discuss with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov the issues of joint economic activities on the disputed islands of South Kurils and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Russia.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida and the two countries' defense ministers are meeting in a "2+2" format in Tokyo on Monday to discuss bilateral and regional issues amid a thaw in Russian-Japanese relations.

    "I would like to discuss with [Russian Foreign] Minister the issues of joint economic activities [in South Kurils], [free] visit of the former residents to the [Kuril] islands," Kishida said at the meeting with Lavrov that started in Tokyo.

    Kishida added that the issues of regional security, including the North Koreans nuclear program, would be discussed later in 2+2 format with participation of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and his Japanese counterpart Tomomi Inada. He noted that he would raise the question of Shinzo Abe’s visit to Russia.

    "We will discuss a wide range of issues, including the preparation of Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Russia within a short time period this year," Kishida said at the meeting with Lavrov, that has started in Tokyo.

    Russia and Japan have taken steps to improve bilateral ties after decades of cooled relations over the Kuril Islands territorial dispute as well as a recent rift when Japan joined Western anti-Russian sanctions following Crimea's rejoining with Russia. The last bilateral 2+2 meeting took place in 2013 just before the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis.

    Moscow and Tokyo have been in a technical state of war since World War II having never signed a permanent peace treaty due to a disagreement over the group of islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories, encompassing Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the second rounds of talks on resolving the issue of the Kurils in late 2016. The two leaders agreed to create a special regime on the islands leading to the establishment joint economic projects. Putin and Abe also dealt with the long-standing state of war issue.


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