• Kyodo

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich on Sunday to lay the groundwork for a visit by Russian leader Vladimir Putin in December.

Abe told Dvorkovich he hopes to “produce results in wide areas such as politics and the economy and make (the talks) an opportunity to develop Japan-Russia relations comprehensively,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Abe is pinning his hopes of inking a peace treaty to formally end World War II with Russia on the talks with Putin.

Hiroshige Seko, minister of economy, trade and industry, also attended the meeting. He heads a panel tasked with promoting economic cooperation with Russia. Abe explained at the meeting that he has instructed the newly established METI panel to intensify efforts to push ahead with an eight-point Japanese economic cooperation plan he presented to Putin in May, the Foreign Ministry said.

Dvorkovich told Abe that preparations for Putin’s visit are underway and that he hopes to further develop bilateral relations and build cooperation between the two nations on a variety of issues, the ministry said.

The latest meeting, held on the sidelines of an international science and technology conference in Kyoto, came after Abe laid out details of the economic cooperation plan to the Russian leader last month.

Tokyo hopes the offer of economic cooperation will prompt the Kremlin to soften its sovereignty stance on the group of Russian-held isles off Hokkaido claimed by Japan.

The decades-old territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty to end World War II.

Putin’s visit will take him to Yamaguchi, Abe’s home turf, on Dec. 15. Abe has said he sees the talks as the only way to achieve a breakthrough in the isles row.

Abe met with Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar ahead of the talks with the Russian deputy prime minister.

Abe and Cerar confirmed the importance of strengthening their economic partnership after the two countries signed a tax treaty Friday to promote trade and investment, the Foreign Ministry said.

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