In addition to holding a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in an economic forum when he comes to Japan in December for a two-day visit, according to a source close to bilateral ties.
Putin will attend a gathering hosted by Keidanren, the nation’s most influential business lobby group, on Dec. 16 in Tokyo, a day after holding talks with Abe in Yamaguchi Prefecture, the source said Monday.
In Yamaguchi, Abe’s home region, the two leaders are expected to discuss the dispute over the Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.
The territorial issue has prevented Japan and Russia from concluding a post-World War II peace treaty.
While the Abe government is keen to make use of Putin’s visit to move forward on the island row, it had wanted him to only visit Yamaguchi. The Tokyo leg is being included due to Moscow’s desire to highlight the benefits of bilateral economic cooperation, the source said.
Abe proposed an eight-point plan as part of bilateral economic cooperation to Putin in May, reflecting the government’s hope that the financial assistance would grease the wheels of discussion over the island dispute.
Several hundred business leaders from Russia will accompany Putin to facilitate broader exchanges between Japanese and Russian companies. Abe is also likely to attend the Keidanren forum, the source said.
The Foreign Ministry plans to characterize Putin’s trip as a working visit, with the Russian leader not meeting with Emperor Akihito in order to maximize the time for substantive discussions on the territorial dispute and economic cooperation, the source said.
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