Foreign Minister Yohei Kono reiterated Tokyo’s earnest hope Friday that a date can be set soon for Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s visit to Japan — a long-delayed bilateral summit expected to take place by the end of this year.

“I believe that preparations for President Yeltsin’s Japan visit are being actively made at the working level,” Kono told a news conference after a Cabinet meeting. “I hope that he will be able to fix his schedule as he manages Russia’s difficult times.”

Kono’s comment came in response to Yeltsin’s letter to Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi dated Tuesday, in which the Russian president said he has been unable to decide on a date for the visit due to recent incidents of terrorism in Russia.

In the letter, Yeltsin said, “We are actively preparing for summit talks, but at the same time we have been facing serious problems recently over internal terrorism.”

Yeltsin also said in the letter, “Under these circumstances, I hope for a situation that would allow us to quickly decide on a date for the meeting.”

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