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TOKYO, September 7 (Itar-Tass) — Koichiro Gemba, a new foreign minister of Japan, would like to draw up “a concrete plan of the advance of strategic partnership” with Russia, including joint economic activities in the South Kurile Islands. He spoke about it in an interview with the Mainichi newspaper, published on Wednesday, in which he set forth the main directions of his diplomatic activities.
“The problem of the northern territories remains the only problem in the Japanese-Russian relations, which has not been settled so far. Our stand remains unchanged. It provides for the settlement of the territorial problem and the signing of a peace treaty. Aside from it, we would like to draw up a concrete plan of the advance of our strategic partnership with Russia, including joint economic activities in the northern territories,” he said.
Koichiro Gembo gave an interview to the Asahi newspaper, published on Tuesday, in which he made it clear that he would assume an identical stand with regard to the South Kurile Islands and the Takeshima (Dokdo) Islands, which are under the control of Seoul and to which Japan is also laying claim. According to the Japanese Foreign Minister, “those territories were occupied and are managed in the form, which is legally groundless.” He served notice in this way that he did not recognize the rights of Russia and South Korea to those islands, but avoided more comments and stronger words.
Speaking with journalists on Monday, Gembo showed utmost restraint, responding to the question about his attitude to the problem of the South Kurile Islands and Takeshima (Dokdo). “I cannot accept what is unacceptable and I shall speak openly about it,” said Gembo, 47, who is regarded as one of the most promising politicians in the ruling Democratic Party of Japan.