SHIMODA, Shizuoka Pref. – Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said Saturday he is determined to resolve the territorial row with Russia over a group of islands off Hokkaido.
He made the remarks during a ceremony in Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture, to mark the 150th anniversary of relations with Russia.
“We must build future-oriented Japan-Russia relations by solving the issue — the only remaining obstacle between the two countries — and conclude a peace treaty,” he said.
“I am determined to make utmost efforts along with Russian President (Vladimir) Putin toward building new Japan-Russian relations,” he said, referring to a summit to be held during Putin’s visit to Japan planned for this year.
Shimoda is where where the two countries signed the Treaty of Commerce, Navigation and Delimitation in 1855.
Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said during the ceremony he plans to have detailed discussions with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who will visit Japan in late May, to make the Putin visit a success.
Russian Ambassador Alexander Losyukov, meanwhile, called for concerted efforts by governments and businesses of the two countries to deepen mutual understanding and reinforce relations.
Descendants of Adm. Evfimii Putyatin of the Russian Imperial Navy and Kawaji Toshiakira, the Tokugawa shogunate official who signed the treaty, also participated in the ceremony.
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