• Kyodo

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Japan and Russia are planning vice ministerial talks in February, RIA Novosti news agency reported Monday, quoting a Russian official after a meeting with Japanese officials in Tokyo.

According to Andrey Tatarinov, director of the Third Asian Department of Russia’s Foreign Ministry, a vice ministerial meeting on political issues is being planned in Moscow, and an economic dialogue in Tokyo, the report said.

Moscow had put off vice ministerial talks after Japan imposed sanctions on Russia following its annexation of Crimea in March.

Foreign Ministry officials from the two countries are expected to explore the possibility of a visit to Russia by Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida that has been postponed by Japan after Moscow’s Crimea annexation.

Monday’s director-level bilateral talks were held as part of efforts to realize a visit to Japan by Russian President Vladimir Putin next year. Hajime Hayashi, director general of the European Affairs Bureau of the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo, took part in the meeting.

The director-level officials also discussed a range of other issues, including the Ukraine situation and economic cooperation, the news agency said.

In a meeting on Nov. 9 in Beijing, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Putin agreed to start preparations for a visit to Japan by Putin at “an appropriate time next year.”

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