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Japan, Russia seek January talks on developing disputed isles

Economic collaboration on Northern Territories could pave way for peace treaty

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in November to set up talks aimed at economic cooperation on the Southern Kurils.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Japan and Russia aim to hold high-level diplomatic talks as soon as January to pave the way for economic cooperation on disputed islands north of Hokkaido once leaders meet later in 2018.

Moscow intends to send Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov to Tokyo for discussions. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Vladimir Putin agreed in November to arrange such a visit in short order. Tokyo has yet to select its representative for this meeting as Takeo Akiba, the senior deputy foreign minister who has taken part in Japan-Russia talks previously, is expected to be promoted to vice minister in January.

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