Japan, Russia eye ‘two-plus-two’ meet

JIJI

Japan and Russia are expected to hold their first so-called two-plus-two meeting of foreign and defense ministers this year, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said.

Speaking at a news conference Thursday, Lukashevich said the meeting is expected to coincide with a visit to Japan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

During a visit to Russia in April, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin to set up a two-plus-two forum. At a vice-ministerial meeting in Moscow on Monday that was designed to resume territorial negotiations over the four disputed islands off Hokkaido, the two countries agreed to arrange a two-plus-two meeting.

Since some key international meetings, including a summit of the Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in St. Petersburg and a U.N. General Assembly session in New York, take place in September, Lavrov’s visit may come in October or later.