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Japan, Russia have unlimited possibilities in relations development - PM Abe

Shinzo Abe also said he hopes his eight-provision cooperation plan will help expand contacts between the two countries’ peoples

TOKYO, December 18. /TASS/. Russia and Japan have unlimited possibilities to develop bilateral relations in all spheres, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in an exclusive interview with TASS First Deputy Director General Mikhail Gusman after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan.

"I think that it is the Japanese-Russian relations that have most of all possibilities and it can be said that these possibilities are unlimited. We with President Putin arrived at the conclusion that should Japan and Russia have mutual intent they will have unlimited possibilities to develop relations in all spheres," Abe said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent two-day visit to Nagato (Yamaguchi Prefecture) and Tokyo, the first one in the past 11 years, focused on two major topics, namely the peace treaty between the two countries and the problem of southern Kuril Islandsm, and bilateral economic cooperation.

The two countries are working on issues of bilateral economic cooperation in line with an eight-provision plan the Japanese prime minister offered to the Russian leader at their meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi on May 6. The plan provides for expanding cooperation in such sectors as energy, small and medium-sized business, industrial development of Russia’s Far East, and exports. Apart from that, the plan envisages closer cooperation in the areas of advanced technologies, including nuclear energy, and of humanitarian exchanges.

Plan of cooperation will help expand contacts between nations

Abe said he hopes his eight-provision cooperation plan will help expand contacts between the two countries’ peoples.

"The cooperation plan of eight provisions I have initiated is a concrete plan to unlock the potential of relations between our countries which have enormous possibilities," he said. "This plan is not about economy and business only. It will be beneficial for the everyday life of Russian citizens, for such spheres as medicine and urban environment. Apart from that, it is geared towards interregional, sports and youth exchanges."

One of the goals of this plan is "to promote direct contacts between as many Japan’s and Russia’s citizens as possible," the Japanese prime minister said. "I think that thanks to it the peoples of the two countries will be able to feel the advantages of the development of Japanese-Russian relations."

He hailed an agreement on joint economic activities in the southern Kuril Islands that was reached during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Japan. "Such economic activity is to be conducted in the light of common understanding that it is not to the detriment of Japan’s and Russia’s positions on the problem of signing the peace treaty and that this ‘special regime’ is established only between Japan and Russia," Abe said.

"I also think that when Russians living on the four islands really feel how various results could be reached it will help understand the significance of the Japanese-Russian cooperation and the solution of the peace treaty problem," the Japanese prime minister stressed.

Stability in Asia Pacific

Japan-Russia cooperation in the sphere of security will promote stability in the Asia Pacific region, said Abe.

"Indeed, the security situation in the Asia Pacific region is becoming more and more complicated," Abe said. In his words, North Korea’s actions "are causing great concern from the point of view of peace and security" in the region.

"I think that if in Asia Pacific Japan and Russia become partners who can cooperate in the area of security, no doubt, this region will be more stable and peace in this region will become lasting," he noted.

The Japanese prime minister stressed that "Japan and Russia maintain broad dialogue" on that issue at the level of the two countries’ Security Councils.

According to Abe, Japan and Russia want closer understanding on security issues, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula. "For instance, North Kore continues its provocative actions when it launches continental missiles, conducts nuclear tests, etc. I think that through our close cooperation with Russia as a United Nations Security Council member we managed to reach results in adopting Resolution 2321," he said. "I think Japan and Russia should maintain closer cooperation to make North Korea duly fulfil numerous resolutions of the Security Council, including Resolution 2321."

One of key topics of Putin’s visit to Japan was strategic cooperation between the two countries. Thus, a meeting in the Yamaguchi Prefecture yielded an agreement to resume the frozen contacts between the countries, including those in the 2+2 format involving the two countries’ defense and foreign ministers.