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Beginning of the meeting with Foreign Minister of Japan Koichiro Gemba
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, Mr Minister, colleagues and friends. I am very happy to see you. Welcome!
I know that you have already held extensive talks with your Russian counterpart, Mr Lavrov. I am sure you had a great deal to discuss since the relations between Russia and Japan are developing, and overall they are developing quite successfully.
We are continuing contacts on the most sensitive political issues. Our trade and economic ties are expanding: we have already reached the pre-crisis level of $30 billion in trade. However, in absolute terms, that is not a lot.
Our trade with China, our other neighbour in the Far East, has reached nearly $90 billion – $87 billion, if I am not mistaken, and the opportunities that exist both in Russia and Japan certainly make us think about what can and must be done to boost our trade and economic relations.
In recent years, Japanese companies have shown an increasing interest in operating in the Russian market. This is especially true of the engineering sector. I would like to assure you that we will do everything to ensure that our Japanese partners are not disappointed and that they are satisfied with their work in Russia.
I hope that we will successfully accomplish our engineering projects not only in the European part of Russia but also in the Far East. Some of them, as far as I know, are nearing completion.
Another traditional area of our cooperation is the energy sector, where we also have very good long-term projects. At present, the share of Russian gas at the Japanese market has reached 10%. I know that companies from both sides have ambitious plans for developing ties in this industry and we will support their efforts.
We agreed to meet in Russia soon, during the APEC Summit in Vladivostok. Just yesterday, I sent him a letter of invitation, in line with the APEC protocol – one month before the summit.
I also have an unofficial request for you: if you could please convey my best wishes and gratitude to the head of the Akita Prefecture for his lovely gift – an Akita Inu puppy. It has already arrived in Moscow.
I have been told that he is more fond of cats, so in return I’ll present him with a Siberian cat.
Foreign Minister of Japan Koichiro GEMBA (retranslated): First of all I would like to thank you for finding the time for this meeting.
Mr Lavrov and I have held very productive talks. Our confidential long-term personal relationship deepens with each meeting.
I am confident that the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games will be a great success under your leadership.
Naturally, we would like to provide any assistance required in organising the APEC Summit in Vladivostok.