Putin to visit Japan in November - reports
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told a former Japanese prime minister he wants to visit Japan in November for talks on a formal treaty to end a land dispute from World War II, reports said.
The neighbouring countries have been debating a date for the visit for months after Putin agreed to come here this year to mark the 150th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between them.
Putin told former Japanese prime minister Yoshiro Mori in Saint Petersburg Tuesday that he wanted the visit to be around the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ( APEC) forum summit in South Korea on November 18-19, major Japanese media reported.
Mori handed a letter from Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, again inviting Putin to visit Japan.
Putin said he wanted to "seriously discuss" a peace treaty with Koizumi formally ending their World War II hostilities, the reports said. The two nations remain at loggerheads over the southern Kuril islands seized by Moscow at the end of the war.
Putin also told Mori he supported Tokyo's bid to secure a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and Moscow would study a revised draft UN resolution prepared by Japan, Brazil, Germany and India on enlarging the Security Council, Kyodo News said.
Koizumi and Putin met in Moscow last month at ceremonies marking the end of World War II and Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura visited Russia in January, but neither trip produced a deal on when the Russian president would come to Tokyo.
He last came to Japan in September 2000, a few months after taking office.
Russia has suggested handing back to Japan two of the four Kuril islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories and lie just off the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.
Japan, however, has demanded the return of all four of the islands. Soviet troops evicted Japanese residents on them at the end of the war and brought in Russian settlers.