President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Mori,
Allow me once again to wish you a warm welcome to Russia, thank the Japanese Prime Minister for facilitating your visit to St Petersburg, and thank you for taking part in the events marking the beginning of the Toyota company’s activities here in Russia. I am very pleased to have this chance to meet with you and exchange views on our bilateral relations. We think that relations with Japan are developing quite well indeed today. We have established contacts at a high level and our economic ties are also developing.
I would like to ask you to pass on my very best wishes to the Prime Minister and thank him for the invitation to visit Japan. I intend to make this visit in accordance with the plans we have agreed on.
Yoshiro Mori: I made my first visit to St Petersburg immediately after becoming Prime Minister. President Vladimir Putin was the first leader I met with in my capacity as Prime Minister. Now we are meeting for the tenth time. I am very grateful to you for the fact that we have been able to preserve this warm, mutual friendship. Last year I received a state decoration. In the summer, I visited my father’s grave in Irkutsk and I showed him that decoration.
I would like to congratulate you on the celebrations that took place on May 9 to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II. I watched these celebrations, which took place under the slogan, “Memory and Conciliation,” on television. At that time I was accompanying His Majesty the Emperor on a visit to Ireland.
When I returned to Tokyo, our current Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, passed on the message that the President of Russia would like to drink beer with me in St Petersburg. So, I am very happy to see you today.
Thank you very much for taking part in the ceremony today marking the beginning of construction of the Toyota car plant. Your participation in this ceremony means a great deal not just for Toyota but also for other Japanese companies.
Vladimir Putin: We were very glad to see the Japanese Prime Minister’s participation in the celebrations on May 9. We saw in his participation a sign of respect for the Russian people and a genuine desire on the part of the Japanese leadership to develop relations with our country.
Today’s event, the beginning of Toyota’s activities in Russia, is the continuation of the dialogue that our two countries have built up over the last years. I am sure that, through a constructive and interested partnership, we can settle any issues in order to develop long-term relations for the good of the Russian and Japanese peoples.