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Abe, Putin agree on N. territories road map

Jiji Press VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Jiji Press) — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed Monday on a road map for joint economic activities in five priority areas on and around the northern territories.

At their two-and-a-half-hour meeting in the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok, the two leaders also decided to send a public-private team to the islands in early October to conduct a detailed survey needed for putting the initiative into action.

The dispatch of such a mission was scheduled last month, but was postponed due to bad weather around the islands.

The five priority areas are aquaculture, greenhouse vegetable cultivation, the development of tours utilizing the islands’ features, wind power generation and garbage reduction. The roadmap specifically calls for accelerating work to launch sea urchin farming and strawberry cultivation at an early time.

Japan aims to leverage the joint economic activities for making progress in the efforts to resolve the territorial issue and negotiations on concluding a bilateral peace treaty.

At a joint press conference after the bilateral summit, Putin, referring to the peace treaty negotiations, said that Moscow is ready to seek a solution acceptable to people of the two countries.

Abe said, “We’re determined to bring an end to the issue.”

The northern territories were seized by the former Soviet Union from Japan at the end of World War II. The decades-old island issue has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from concluding a peace treaty to formally end their wartime hostilities.

Abe and Putin also discussed an eight-point economic cooperation plan, including the development of the Far East region. They also exchanged 10 new documents, including one on the effectuation of a bilateral tax treaty aimed at preventing double taxation.

Following Russia’s recent moves for military buildup on the northern territories, Abe told Putin that Tokyo will send Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of staff at the Japanese Self-Defense Forces’ Joint Staff, to Russia in October to help the two nations deepen mutual trust in the security field.

Elsewhere at the Vladivostok meeting, Abe and Putin agreed that Japan and Russia will work closely to realize the denuclearization of North Korea.

At the press conference, Abe said he obtained Putin’s understanding for Japan’s determination to resolve the issue of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals decades ago, noting that the Russian leader agreed to offer cooperation for the settlement of the problem.

Abe and Putin also confirmed that the Russian president will visit Japan on the occasion of a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in Osaka in June 2019, and hold a bilateral summit with Abe.

The Vladivostok meeting was the 22nd summit between Abe and Putin. They last met in Moscow in May this year.Speech

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