MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. A meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono is scheduled for this coming spring, it will be held in Japan, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
According to Zakharova, 2018 will be of particular importance for Russian-Japanese relations. "The Year of Russia in Japan and the Year of Japan in Russia will be held for the first time in the history of bilateral relations," the diplomat explained.
"Intense contacts between the [Russian and Japanese] foreign ministers are planned," she said. "Agreements have been reached on holding a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers in Japan in spring 2018."
Zakharova noted that the next round of talks between the Russian and Japanese deputy foreign ministers would be held in February. "New rounds of the Russian-Japanese strategic dialogue will be organized," she told reporters. "As for the joint economic activity on the Southern Kuril Islands, work is in progress within the framework of two working groups on commercial and logistics issues to coordinate the projects in accordance with the five areas endorsed by the leaders."
"It is planned to hold the next round of negotiations at the level of deputy foreign ministers in February based on the results of this work," the diplomat added.
An agreement on holding a meeting of the working groups was reached at the talks between Sergey Lavrov and Taro Kono in Moscow in late November.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said after his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok on September 7 that the Russian and Japanese Foreign Ministries had selected a number of promising projects on the islands, namely, in aquaculture, wind power, waste processing, tourism and the creation of greenhouse facilities. The two sides consider joint economic activity to be a step towards signing a peace treaty.