Japanese prime minister Ryutaro Hashimoto told reporters in Tokyo yesterday that he intends to press Boris Yeltsin for a resolution to the Kuril Islands territorial dispute when the two men hold talks today in Denver. "At my meeting with President Yeltsin, I intend to urge him to make the utmost efforts to resolve the issue and secure a full-fledged peace," Hashimoto was quoted as saying.
The Japanese leader suggested that he would also use pre-summit talks with other G-7 leaders in order seek support for Tokyo on the territorial dispute, and he indicated that he had earlier requested, and apparently received, assurances from U.S. president Bill Clinton on this issue. (Kyodo, June 19) The four southern Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan, were seized by the Soviet Union in 1945. The dispute over their status has precluded the signing of a peace treaty between Moscow and Tokyo and has hindered general political and economic relations between the two countries.
In another statement not likely to be appreciated in Moscow, Hashimoto on June 18 suggested that Japan would promote Chinese rather than Russian membership in the World Trade Organization during this weekend’s G-7 talks. Hashimoto said that Russia had not yet drawn up a protocol of accession spelling out its obligations to the WTO, as China has done. Although Japan has joined with other G-7 members in backing Russia’s early entry into the WTO, Tokyo has also insisted that Russia demonstrate its ability to fulfill WTO rules by improving foreign access to its markets. (Kyodo, June 18)
Yeltsin to be a No-Show at NATO Summit.