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    Japan to seek peace treaty with Russia

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    Japan plans to establish cooperation with the new Russian president in all spheres, including work on a peace treaty, a Japanese diplomat said on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, March 19 (RIA Novosti) - Japan plans to establish cooperation with the new Russian president in all spheres, including work on a peace treaty, a Japanese diplomat said on Wednesday.

    "No substantial progress has yet been made on the territorial issue, but the two countries' governments continue to make active moves to solve it, and we would like to establish comprehensive cooperation, with a view to signing a peace treaty with Russia's new leadership," said Akira Imamura at the Japanese embassy in Moscow.

    A key stumbling block in relations between Russia and Japan has been the contested ownership of the South Kuril Islands, which has kept the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty following World War II.

    He added that Japanese businessmen viewed the Russian government's Far East and Transbaikal regional development program as a great opportunity for cooperation, above all in such spheres as energy, communications and healthcare.

    In January, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda expressed his readiness to improve bilateral relations in all spheres.

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