YEKATERINBURG, July 9. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin met late on Sunday with Japan’s former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori over an informal dinner.
Welcoming the guest, Putin noted that he has not forgotten about his birthday and has brought a present from the Russian government.
Mori, who will turn 80 on July 14, said with a sad smile on his face that this might turn out to be his "very last" visit to Russia. Putin replied he doesn’t want to hear such talks and invited him for dinner. "We will have an opportunity to speak about the Russian-Japanese relations," he noted.
As Japan’s Prime Minister in 2000-2001, Mori conducted a policy towards wide development of relations with Russia. Over his premiership, he met with Putin six times. There latest meeting took place in March 2001 in Irkutsk and yielded a statement on commitment to further talks on the peace treaty between the two countries.
After the resignation in 2001, Mori has been playing an active part in his country’s political life. Until 2007, he was co-chairman of the Russian-Japanese Council of the Wise Men.
Mori has visited Moscow many times, including as the Japanese prime minister’s special envoy. In December 2016, he met with Putin during his official visit to Japan.
In 2004, Mori was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship for his contribution to the development of Russian-Japanese international cooperation.