Kono Zips Lips over Northern Territories
Tokyo, Dec. 11 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, at a press conference Tuesday, did not answer any questions over the four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands claimed by Japan.
Kono's silence was apparently aimed at avoiding causing a stir over proposed negotiations with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on matters to be cleared for concluding a bilateral peace treaty including the longstanding territorial row over the islands called Northern Territories in Japan.
"Next question, please," Kono said when he was asked about his view on the claim by Lavrov that Russia legally occupies the four islands.
He declined to answer three related questions made other reporters later by repeating the same phrase.
After a reporter complained about his refusal to answer questions on the Northern Territories, Kono said, "I want to create a proper environment for negotiations" to conclude the treaty with Russia to officially end World War II hostilities between the two countries.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]