Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 69

Various Russian and Japanese sources have appeared in recent days to differ over whether President Boris Yeltsin’s upcoming summit talks in Japan — set to begin on April 18 — will extend to April 19 or one day later. Both sides seem to agree, however, at least that the informal "no-necktie" talks between Yeltsin and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto are unlikely to be postponed again.

That, in particular, was the message brought home by Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Minoru Tamba following talks in Moscow on April 6 with acting Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky. Tamba told reporters in Tokyo yesterday that "the issue of whether [Yeltsin’s] schedule will be extended to three days, until April 20, is still under consideration, but there will be no more postponements." It now appears that the venue for the summit will remain the Japanese seaside resort of Kawana. Some hints had circulated, particularly on the Russian side, that another site might be preferable. (Kyodo, Itar-Tass, April 6-8)

The informal meeting — the second of its kind between Yeltsin and Hashimoto — was originally to have started this weekend, to have lasted from April 11-13. Moscow cited political turmoil in Russia to justify the postponement. It also argued the advisability of holding such a meeting after rather than before final approval of the new Russian prime minister. The first informal summit between Yeltsin and Hashimoto, held in Krasnoyarsk last November, was viewed by both sides as highly successful. It provided a major boost to efforts aimed at working out a peace treaty that would formally end World War II for Russia and Japan. It also advanced negotiations over both possible joint economic development of the disputed Kuril Islands and greater Japanese involvement in the economic development of Russia’s Far East in general.

Moscow Emphasizes Economic Cooperation Proposals.