Abe's tour aims to restart territorial talks, enhance economic ties with Russia
Beijing: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe started his Russia visit among a four-nation trip in an effort to revive long-stalled territorial talks with Russia, promote mutual trust and enhance the two countries'cooperation in all areas, especially in economy.
Abe, the first Japanese prime minister to visit Russia in 10 years, will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying his visit is a chance to "build personal trust with Putin" and "to restart the bilateral talks for a peace treaty" to resolve territorial disputes.
Japan and Russia are in a row over a series of islands off Japan's Hokkaido. The dispute prevents the two countries from signing a peace treaty since the end of World War II.
A joint statement would be released after the meeting between the two leaders, local media said the statement will focus on the revival of talks on the peace treaty, citing officials from Abe's delegation.
Meanwhile, the statement is also expected to emphasize the improvement of bilateral high-level communication, such as "two- plus-two" talks between the two countries' foreign and defense ministers.
If the framework is put into place, it will be the third such mechanism for Japan, following similar regimes with the United States and Australia.
During the visit, the two countries would also discuss bilateral security cooperation and exchange views on regional affairs such as nuclear issues of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Leaders of about 40 Japanese companies were also in Abe's delegation, showing the prime minister's eagerness to boost his country's investment so as to spur Japan's sluggish economy.
Russia, a country with rich energy resources, is an important energy exporter for Japan, which multiplied its appetite for fossil energies such as coal and natural gas since its nuclear plants were shut down following Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
The joint statement would also map out the blueprint of Japan- Russia economic cooperation, especially in the energy area and the development of Russia's Far East region, through both governmental and civil channels, local media said.
The businessmen are expected to hold talks with Russian entrepreneurs and local government officials on medical, energy and agricultural cooperation.
Besides Russia, Abe's weeklong trip will also cover Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey in a move to secure Japan's energy imports and implement Abe's economic diplomacy.