Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe: President Putin, I would like to welcome you once again in Japan.
Osaka is a sister city of St. Petersburg, your hometown, and you visited Osaka when you served as Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg. I am delighted that our meeting is taking place in this city, considering your long-standing ties with it.
Official agreement on the participation of Japanese enterprises in the Arctic LNG 2 project has just been reached. I would like to praise this cooperation agreement, which facilitates Russia’s efforts to develop the Arctic and ensures stable energy supply to our country
In addition, the two sides agreed on investments to set up a prevention and diagnostics medical centre in the city of Khabarovsk using Japan’s experience and technology as its foundation.
The eight-point cooperation plan that I put forward three years ago paved the way to more than 200 projects, and we intend to expand mutually beneficial cooperation moving forward.
The two sides have set a goal to increase mutual travel flows to 200,000 people from each of the countries to a total of 400,000 visitors per year. To this effect, we intend to promote deeper economic ties and step up inter-regional, university and other ties.
Just now, during the closing ceremony of the Japanese-Russian cross-year, which was a great success, I announced that next year would be the first Japanese-Russian year of inter-regional exchange.
Next year, Osaka and St Petersburg will mark the 40th anniversary of their sister city relationship. We are looking forward to further deepening these contacts and hope that new inter-regional links will be formed by various regions of our respective countries.
Japan also intends to ease visa requirements for Russian entrepreneurs as part of the eight-point cooperation plan beginning September 2019 in order to encourage bilateral contacts. This is a special initiative devised specifically for Russia.
A decision was also taken to streamline visa procedures for students from 465 Russian higher educational institutions with the view to expanding youth contacts. After all, the future of bilateral relations is in the hands of our youth.
Japanese and Russian defence and security agencies held a two-plus-two format meeting in late 2018 and maintain contacts in various areas, contributing to deepening trust between our countries on security matters. I commend this trend.
In addition to this, Japan and Russia have been committed to stepping up cooperation on non-conventional and global threats such as combating drug trafficking, cyber attacks, money laundering, etc.
President Putin and I welcome the progress made on the peace treaty, which is in line with the commitment we expressed in November 2018 in Singapore to accelerate negotiations for a peace treaty based on the 1956 joint declaration, to coordinate our positions and continue talks on these matters.
Furthermore, in keeping with what we declared following our meeting in Nagato, today we reaffirmed our sincere commitment to resolving problems related to the peace treaty and agreed to welcome preparations for undertaking joint economic activity in the four northern islands. Japan and Russia will jointly release a document to this effect.
As for joint economic activity on the four northern islands, we have noted proactive efforts to implement these projects.
Today, President Putin and I approved business models for two projects: one on tourism and the other on waste management. We also agreed on arranging a pilot tourist trip and carrying out a pilot project on mutual visits by Japanese and Russian experts in waste management.
We also welcome efforts to further the discussion on the conditions and legal framework for the movement of people as part of this joint economic activity.
Bilateral cooperation has been successful in the sphere of humanitarian measures that are intended to benefit current and former residents of the islands.
President Putin and I agreed to arrange visits to burial sites by plane in August or September.
Talks on the peace treaty have been underway since we reached an agreement to this effect at the November bilateral summit that took place in Singapore last year.
Today, President Putin and I had a frank discussion on various matters, including on ways to further promote the negotiating process and its prospects.
Overcoming differences on complex matters that have lingered for the last 70 years since the war ended is not an easy task. However, an outline of the matters that we have to address is becoming increasingly clear.
President Putin and I understand like no one else the strategic importance of strengthening Japanese-Russian relations, and the critical role of the peace treaty in these efforts. We must be resolute in the steps we take, understanding that only the strong will of President Putin and myself can push this momentum forward.
President Putin and I reaffirmed this vision today. I strongly believe that together with President Putin we will continue to move forward in this direction one step at a time in order to further develop ties between our countries.
Thank you for your attention.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, dear Shinzo, allow me to congratulate you once again on the success of the G20 Summit you have hosted.
I would like to thank you for inviting me to make this visit to Japan at a time that coincided with this major international event. As you know, we have already attended together the closing ceremony of the Year of Russia in Japan and the Year of Japan in Russia.
Ahead of us, we still have the expanded-format talks that will be attended by those heads of our ministries and agencies that are proactively involved in Russia-Japan cooperation. Let me note that the Prime Minister of Japan and I have been able to review the main items on the bilateral agenda in considerable detail. We also exchanged views on topical international and regional problems. The joint documents that have just been signed are designed to expand cooperation in various areas.
For Russia, Japan is an important partner with whom we are seeking to build mutually beneficial relations as good neighbours and by taking into consideration each other’s interests. Our countries have established close political dialogue. One month ago, the heads of our respective foreign and defence ministries had a two-plus-two format meeting. There are regular consultations between our security councils, as well as inter-parliamentary ties.
There is also steady progress in our mutual trade, which increased by 17 percent last year and added another 7 percent in the first four months of 2019. This shows that the Russian-Japanese Intergovernmental Commission has been effective; the projects outlined as part of the eight-point cooperation plan proposed by Mr Abe are being consistently implemented, as well as Russia’s strategy to expand trade and economic cooperation.
Today, we adopted a joint statement dedicated to our future efforts pertaining to these two essential documents. In particular, Russia’s national projects will benefit from Japanese technology and investment. We see unwavering interest on behalf of Japanese businesses in cooperating with Russia. Right now, some 270 Japanese companies are represented on the Russian market. The Russia-Japan Investment Fund and investment platform have built a positive track record.
Business leaders and investors from Japan have proactively contributed to the recent St Petersburg International Economic Forum. We will be glad to see Mr Abe and his Japanese colleagues at the upcoming Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September.
Energy is the main area of our bilateral cooperation. Japanese companies are involved in the Sakhalin 2 project. Our Japanese partners from Mitsui, Japan’s national oil, gas and metals corporation, have just signed an important agreement to join the construction of the Arctic LNG 2 project that envisages investment of almost three billion dollars.
Rosatom continues its efforts to facilitate the Fukushima relief effort. A number of initiatives are being explored to recycle spent nuclear fuel, possibly with the involvement of third countries. We are expanding our ties in high tech spheres. An agreement has been reached whereby Canon of Japan will build facilities in Russia in order to manufacture state-of-the-art medical diagnostics equipment in our country.
Another project on the agenda is the laying of a new high-speed data cable linking Japan and Europe. In particular, it includes connecting Nakhodka and Niigata by submarine cable.
There is also momentum in transport and infrastructure cooperation. A series of pilot container shipments were carried out along the Trans-Siberian Railway, showing that this is an economically viable route for expanding deliveries of Japanese products to European markets.
In 2020, Russia and Japan are to hold cross years of inter-regional exchange. This initiative is expected to promote deeper contacts between regions, as Mr Prime Minister and I agreed today.
Of course, Mr Abe and I discussed matters related to the peace treaty, and were both happy to see that our foreign ministers established meaningful dialogue on a topic that is challenging and sensitive for both countries. We expect this dialogue to carry on, and believe that a lot of effort will be required to take relations between Russia and Japan to a new level.
Whether or not we succeed in strengthening trust and neighbourly relations between the peoples of Russia and Japan and create conditions for finding mutually acceptable solutions for the most complex issues will depend on these efforts.
In this connection, it is noteworthy that we have succeeded in making some progress in launching joint economic activity on the islands. We approved business models for two out of the five areas identified by Mr Abe and myself. A number of pilot projects are to be carried out in the near future.
When discussing urgent international problems we paid special attention to developments surrounding the Korean Peninsula. I informed Mr Abe of the outcomes of the April 25 talks with Chairman of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kim Jong-un in Vladivostok.
We proceed from the premise that the peninsula’s nuclear and missile problems can be resolved only by peaceful political and diplomatic means. What we need is a commitment to dialogue from all the countries involved. This is the only way to ensure security and foster development in Northeast Asia, a region that is home to both Russia and Japan.
To conclude, I would like once again to express my gratitude to Mr Prime Minister and all our Japanese colleagues and friends for their warm hospitality and our meaningful talks with them.
Thank you for your attention.