On September 1, the Japanese government confirmed an earlier Kremlin announcement that Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Japan in December of this year. Putin will visit Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hometown, Yamaguchi.
On September 2, Abe med with Putin in Vladivostok for a summit meeting. The two leaders reportedly spoke for over three hours, and Abe introduced an “eight point cooperation plan” for Japan-Russia economic cooperation to Putin. Following his meeting with Putin, Abe spoke to the press and said he was able to have a very engaging discussion with Putin, including how to address the Northern Territories issue and the way forward toward a Japan-Russia Peace Treaty. Japan and Russia never formally signed a peace treaty at the end of World War II, largely due to a dispute over the Northern Territories (known in Russia as the Kuril Islands). Although Abe said his government would take a step-by-step approach toward resolving these long-standing issues, he also expressed hope that Japan’s relationship with Russia would enter a new era of cooperation.
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