• Kyodo

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Japan and Russia are considering releasing a joint declaration or political documents covering a comprehensive bilateral relationship when President Vladimir Putin visits, possibly in April, Japanese government officials said Saturday.

The two countries are also studying the possibility of drafting separate documents on about 10 issues, such as Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization and dismantling the country’s retired nuclear submarines, they said.

According to the officials, the proposed joint declaration would also cover the need to settle the decades-old territorial dispute involving the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

Tokyo and Moscow plan to examine progress in the documentation process in a bilateral working-level meeting by the end of January and finalize the drafts during Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Japan scheduled for early March, the officials said.

The two countries agreed to draw up such documents to provide political momentum for Putin’s planned visit to Japan as they have a bleak outlook on any major progress in settling the territorial dispute, according to the officials.

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