Junichiro Koizumi: This is already our eleventh meeting. I have been in different Russian cities, first and foremost in St Petersburg, on the Baltic Sea, in Moscow, and so I have felt how big Russia is.
Vladimir Putin: I am very glad to see you here in St Petersburg. I remember the warm welcome you gave our delegation when we visited Tokyo and Japan.
Junichiro Koizumi: I am very glad to see that I am visiting St Petersburg at the very best time of year.
Vladimir Putin: That is true.
JUNICHIRO KOIZUMI The last time I was in St Petersburg was during the city’s 300 th anniversary. And since that time it seems to me that the city has become even prettier.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much for your kind, warm words. We will try to do everything, St Petersburg establishes all the necessary conditions, for the well-being of our guests and so that we can have a good discussion and do good work here. I am very pleased to see that the Action Plan we developed is being implemented at quite a good rate. Contacts are continuing on all levels, including with respect to the most delicate issue, that of the peace treaty. There are contacts between our governments, ministries and parliaments. Our volume of trade is growing. In 2004 it grew by 70 percent and last year by 30 percent.
Junichiro Koizumi: Within the next five years we shall try to double our volume of trade. The number of Japanese companies that are working on the Russian market has doubled over the past five years. Five years ago there were 60 of them and now there are 130. If we conclude a peace treaty then their numbers will increase even more.
Vladimir Putin: And we would very much like this. As I promised you, I provide support to Japanese companies, including those that are starting their business here, in St Petersburg. I am referring to Toyota, and now Nissan has also made the decision and laid the first stone in what will become its future factory.
Junichiro Koizumi: Yes, Toyota.
Vladimir Putin: Yes, Toyota and now Nissan as well.
I am very pleased that the festival of Russian culture in Japan has met with such success and drawn so much attention from Japanese art lovers. More then six hundred thousand Japanese connoisseurs of Russian art visited this exhibit. And this summer we are planning to hold events at Moscow State University and we expect that our friends, Japanese students, will come.
Contacts between our military departments are growing. We are grateful that you accept our servicemen in Japan. We shall show and do show the same hospitality towards our Japanese colleagues.
We have been speaking about the need to simplify the visa regime for a long time and this would certainly improve contacts between the citizens of our countries.
And finally, with respect to international issues. You were recently in the Middle East and I would be interested to hear your opinion, your evaluation of the events that are taking place.
I am very glad to see you. Welcome.
Junichiro Koizumi: It is my last meeting with you as Prime Minister and the last time I will participate in the G8 summit. Mr President, as chairman of the G8 you invited me to Russia where we have been welcomed so hospitably. I hope that we will have a fruitful summit meeting.