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TOKYO, November 16. /TASS/. The timeframe of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan has not been determined yet, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday.
No decision has been taken yet on whether this year or next [the visit will be held]. This issue should be settled comprehensively with taking into account various factors, he said, answering journalists’ questions. Commenting on the statement by Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov that Putin "would be glad to see the Japanese prime minister in any of the Russian regions," Suga said he had not heard about a concrete invitation.
Putin and Abe met on the sidelines of the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Antalya, Turkey, on November 15. "They exchanged views on a number of current issues of bilateral relations, primarily on trade and economic cooperation," Peskov said. "Putin expressed regret over declining trade turnover between the two countries. At the same time, he noted that Japanese companies are not losing interest [to Russia] in the current conditions." Moreover, he noted, Japanese companies were looking at new projects in Russia.
"The sides also spoke about cooperation within the United Nations Security Council with due account of Japan’s status of a non-permanent member, discussed [the Russian leader’s] visit to Japan. Putin and Abe agreed to continue work to agree the date of this visit via diplomatic channels so that it could take place in a foreseeable future," Peskov said.
"Putin said he would be glad to see the Japanese prime minister in any of the Russian regions," he added.
According to the Kyodo news agency, Abe and Putin had "candid" discussion about how they can resolve the dispute of sovereignty over four Russian-held islands off Japan’s northernmost main island of Hokkaido, according to Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko. The leaders compared notes over the issue of the Northern Territories, called the Southern Kurils in Russia, based on a 2013 agreement to seek a settlement that would be acceptable to both sides, Seko said.
Abe had tried to realise Putin’s visit to Japan by the end of this year, but some Japanese officials suggested it may not be the best idea, as Tokyo had protested to Moscow every time top Russian officials, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, visited the islands since July.