Abe, Putin Discuss Joint Activities on Disputed Islands under Special Framework (News)
Nagato, Yamaguchi Pref., Dec. 15 (Jiji Press)—Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday discussed the possibility of the two countries jointly conducting economic activities on four disputed northwestern Pacific islands "under a special framework."
During their five-hour talks at a hotel in a hot spring resort in the city of Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan, the two leaders agreed that Japan and Russia will start negotiations on realizing the joint activities, a senior Russian government official said, adding that a joint document on the matter will likely be announced on Friday.
Some Japanese and Russian government officials joined the Abe-Putin meeting in the first 80 minutes. Then, the two leaders held one-on-one dialogue, accompanied by interpreters, for 95 minutes. A dinner session was held later for two hours that was joined by economy-related ministers of the two nations.
After the one-on-one session, Abe told reporters that he and Putin had "candid and very in-depth discussions" on free visits by former Japanese residents of the four Russian-held islands to their hometowns there, joint economic activities on the islands under a special framework, and a bilateral peace treaty.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, told reporters that the issue of sovereignty over the islands was not discussed at all at the bilateral summit, according to media reports including one by Russia's Interfax news agency. The issue of Russia's sovereignty is not subject to discussion between the two nations, he said, adding that no talks were held at the Putin-Abe meeting on a deadline for bilateral peace treaty negotiations including the territorial issue.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.](Banner photo: Prime Minister Abe Shinzō and his wife Akie welcome President Vladimir Putin to the city of Nagato, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on December 15. ©Jiji)