Abe, Putin affirm Putin trip to Japan this year

TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday affirmed a plan for Putin to visit Japan this year, a senior Japanese official said.

In their 30-minute telephone talks, Abe and Putin agreed to continue dialogue between the two governments to boost economic cooperation and make headway in resolving a 70-year-old territorial dispute over four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, the official said. On the Ukraine crisis, Abe urged Putin to "fully implement" the cease-fire agreement struck in February as part of efforts to achieve a peaceful and diplomatic solution, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Abe called for Moscow's "constructive role" in halting the continued fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukraine government forces in eastern Ukraine, the ministry said, without revealing Putin's remarks. Abe relayed Japanese fishermen's concern about a Russian bill that would ban drift-net fishing for salmon in Russian territorial waters, and asked they be allowed to continue such fishing. The bill's June 10 passage through the State Duma, the lower house of Russia's parliament, has upset Japanese fishermen who operate in Russia's exclusive economic zone under bilateral arrangements. The measure, aimed at conserving natural resources, will take effect next year upon upper house approval and Putin's signature. During talks on the sidelines of a Pacific Rim summit in Beijing last November, Abe and Putin agreed they would start preparations for a Putin visit at an appropriate time in 2015. Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is considering visiting Russia to pave the way for Putin's trip. Source: Kyodo

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