President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, good afternoon.
It is a great pleasure to see you here in Moscow.
We have had a number of opportunities to discuss together our bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest on the international stage. We are very grateful that you accepted our invitation and have come here to Moscow.
The relations between our two countries are showing steady and positive development. Our bilateral trade has reached a record level, though I think that for countries like ours it could still be a lot bigger. But we value the positive trend. Our trade increased last year, and this trend continued over the first 3–4 months of this year.
I am sure that we will have the chance to discuss all of the key issues in our relations today, including the question of a peace treaty between Russia and Japan, and we will discuss the rather serious problems in the region in general. In short, we have a busy programme for our joint work today.
Once again, let me say how happy we are that you have come to Moscow.
Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe (re-translated): The Liberal Democratic Party won the general election in Japan last year and I once again became Prime Minister. I am very pleased to have this chance to meet with you again after you held the prime minister’s office and have now become President once more. I met with you three times when I last held the prime minister’s office, and I remember those talks very well and was looking forward to this fourth meeting with you.
My visit is the first official visit by the Japanese Prime Minister to Russia in the last 10 years. Over this time you have brought stability and steady economic growth to the Russian Federation. What’s more, by hosting the APEC summit, you have also boosted Russia’s role on the international stage.
As you said, our bilateral relations have been developing steadily in accordance with the Japanese-Russian action plan over the last ten years. Our bilateral trade has increased eight-fold over this time and the number of Japanese companies working on the Russian market has doubled. Our countries are also developing cooperation in sectors such as security and defence, and I am very pleased indeed to see these developments in our ties.
But we have not fully developed our cooperation’s potential yet, and the times quite simply demand that we raise the level of our work together as partners. Not only would this be in both countries’ national interests, but it would contribute to stability and prosperity in our region and in the world in general.
With all of this in mind, I therefore hope to have a good, unhurried and calm exchange of views with you here today.