Japan FM to visit Moscow April 12-15 for peace treaty talks

By RIA Novosti

Tokyo : Japan’s foreign minister will arrive in Russia on a four-day official visit on Saturday for talks on bilateral cooperation and a peace treaty, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Friday.

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Russia and Japan have failed to sign a formal peace treaty following World War II over their territorial dispute on the South Kuril Islands. Tokyo has moved to step up bilateral ties with a view to signing the treaty with Russia’s new leadership.

Russian president-elect Dmitry Medvedev is to be sworn in next month. Outgoing leader Vladimir Putin will stay in as prime minister.

In Moscow, Masahiko Komura will meet with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and members of the Russian business community.

He will also visit a Toyota plant near St. Petersburg. The Japanese auto giant opened the plant last December planning to produce 20,000 Toyota Camry cars a year. Visiting the plant’s opening ceremony, Putin said bilateral trade in 2007 grew more than 40% on the previous year’s figures to $18.5 billion.

Komura will also discuss in Moscow a possible visit to Russia by Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda at the beginning of his European tour planned for early May.

In January, the Japanese premier expressed his readiness to improve relations with Russia in all spheres.