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Japan, Russia hold 1st joint economic activities talks

Jiji Press

Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba, left, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and Eiichi Hasegawa shake hands during their talks in Tokyo on Saturday.

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan and Russia held their first official talks in Tokyo on Saturday on proposed joint economic activities on the northern territories.

Both sides presented lists of proposed projects in such areas as fishery and tourism.

The Japanese list included the use of aircraft in visits to family graves by former Japanese residents of the disputed islands.

The Japanese proposals are also believed to include cruise tours around the islands as well as remote online medical care of Russian residents of the islands, sources familiar with the discussions said.

The joint activities are designed to help the two countries resolve the territorial dispute and conclude a peace treaty to formally end their wartime hostilities.

The dispute over the four islands, which were seized from Japan by Soviet troops in the closing days of World War II, has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from concluding the peace treaty.

The talks on the joint economic activities were joined from Japan by Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Akiba and Eiichi Hasegawa, special adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Russian participants included Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov.

At the beginning of the talks, Akiba said that Japan intends to move forward toward achieving the two countries’ common goal of concluding a peace treaty, while maintaining the principle of not undermining each side’s legal positions in the joint economic activities.

Morgulov said that any projects in the joint economic activities should be carried out under conditions that they are not inconsistent with Russian law.

In their summit meeting held in Japan in December, Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to start the talks on the joint economic activities.

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