MOSCOW, August 18. /TASS/. The possible visit of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to the Kuril Islands will not be a decisive factor during the planning of visits to Russia and Japan by the leaders of the two countries, an official of the Third Asian Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry told a TASS news conference dedicated to the 70th anniversary since the beginning of an operation to liberate the Kuril Islands from the Japanese troops during World War II.
"Such trips to the region, by Dmitry Medvedev and other Russian officials, have taken place previously," Denis Karenin said. He acknowledged that "they had evoked negative response from Tokyo and the Japanese public." "But as a result they didn’t cause much damage," Karenin said.
Speaking about the scheduled visits to Moscow and Tokyo by the leaders of Russia and Japan, the diplomat noted that preparation for them had "slowed down at the initiative of the Japanese side." "At least, the way events are evolving now, there is no direct reference to the planned visits [of Russian officials to the Kuril Islands]. This will not be a decisive factor," he said.
"Despite all this, we have maintained cooperation between our ministries, and, although the political dialogue has somewhat slowed down, it is developing as well," Karenin said.
"Our Japanese colleagues and we are unanimous in the opinion that the Russian-Japanese relations have great potential. It has not been fully revealed yet, we are working on that," the diplomat said. "The agreements that have been reached by our leaders continue to bear fruit," the diplomat said. "Japanese companies continue to actively cooperate with Russian companies in the energy sector, there are joint high-tech projects. Commissions on improving the investment climate and developing the urban environment are working, and so are humanitarian programs.".