Japan Urges Russia to Quickly Return Detained Fishers


Moscow, Dec. 19 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Thursday urged Russia to immediately return crew members of Japanese fishing boats detained by Russian authorities from a humanitarian perspective.

Motegi also protested the seizure of the ships in a meeting in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov.

The two agreed to hold in January 2020 a bureau chief-level working group meeting on joint economic activities on the four Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands at the center of the two countries' territorial dispute.

In a joint press conference after their meeting, Lavrov said he requested that the Japanese government instruct fishing crew members so that they will not break any existing rules or laws. Lavrov did not say how Russia will handle the matter.

The ministers agreed to hold their next meeting on the sidelines of an international conference in Munich in February. They also confirmed that arrangements for a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be continued through diplomatic channels.

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