Home>News Center>World

Better Russia-Japan ties possible without Kurils resolution: Koizumi
Updated: 2005-11-14 10:17

Resolving a 60-year-old row over four disputed Pacific islands would significantly boost ties between Japan and Russia, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said in an interview.

But the Japanese leader noted that a resolution on the four southernmost Kuril islands was not a precondition for improving bilateral relations, in an interview on Russian television a week ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin's planned visit to Tokyo.

"I am not saying that we should not develop bilateral relations before the territorial problem is sorted out," Koizumi told Rossia, Russia's second public television channel.

He added that resolving the row over the four islands -- the Kuril chain separates the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean and lie between Russia's Kamchatka peninsula and the Japanese island of Hokkaido -- would "open the way to a tremendous strengthening of relations."

"In principle, I am optimistic, but not to the extent of hoping to solve this question during a single meeting.

"Obviously, one would like this meeting (with Putin) to allow things to move forward a step or two," he added.

Extensive negotiations between Moscow and Tokyo since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 have failed to resolve the Kuril dispute.

The Soviet army seized the islands after Japan's capitulation in World War II and the dispute has prevented Russia and Japan signing a peace treaty formally ending hostilities.

Earlier this year, Putin had to scrap plans for a visit to Tokyo in February after a diplomatic dispute between the two sides.

Russia offered to hand over two of the islands but Japan insisted on all four islands in return for a promise not to expel Russian inhabitants.

Liberia poised to have Africa's first-ever elected female president
Former Indian president passes away
Suicide bombers kill 57 at Jordan hotels
  Today's Top News     Top World News

China mulls deregulating energy prices



One dead, 5 missing in chemical plant blasts



Leaders expected to focus on economic ties



Special prisons for HIV/AIDS inmates



Processed poultry: Strict checks ordered



Briton claims to have beaten HIV virus


  White House declines to totally rule out torture
  Iraqi woman confesses on Jordan TV
  Australian files reveal deadly clashes during UN Timor operation
  Mideast envoy urges deal on Gaza
  Rice condemns Iran for Israel comment
  Briton claims to have beaten HIV virus
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Russian FM visits Japan amid lingering territorial dispute
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?  
Manufacturers, Exporters, Wholesalers - Global trade starts here.