VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept. 8, Kyodo
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks Saturday in Vladivostok, far eastern Russia, focusing on measures to boost overall bilateral relations and a long-standing territorial dispute involving four islands off Hokkaido.
The meeting on the sidelines of a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum through Sunday is the second between the two leaders following one in June in Mexico.
Noda and Putin are expected to discuss steps to strengthen bilateral exchanges including planned visits to Japan in the fall by senior Russian officials in charge of the economy, foreign affairs and security, according to a source familiar with bilateral relations.
The leaders may study a possible visit to Russia by Noda later this year despite the murky outlook for Japanese politics, given the possibility of dissolution of the House of Representatives for a general election, the source said.
They are also likely to observe the signing of an agreement to curb illegal crab fishing in Russian-administered waters in the Sea of Okhotsk and of a memorandum on construction of a liquefied natural gas plant in the vicinity of Vladivostok.
In their talks in the Mexican resort of Los Cabos, Noda and Putin agreed to instruct their foreign ministries to hold substantive negotiations in a quiet atmosphere based on a series of bilateral accords and documents as well as the principle of law and justice.
The dispute over the group of Russian-held islands -- Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group -- that are claimed by Japan has kept the two countries from concluding a postwar peace treaty.