Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 143

In additional talks held yesterday in Manila, Japanese Foreign Minister Keizo Obuchi reiterated to his Russian counterpart Tokyo’s intention to continue pushing for improved ties with Moscow and to follow through with a previously agreed upon set of high-level contacts. Obuchi was elected on July 24 to head Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He is expected to be named the country’s new prime minister this week. During talks with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov on the eve of the annual meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum, the two men agreed that the Japanese prime minister would make an official visit to Moscow in October or November of this year, and that Obuchi’s successor as Foreign Minister would travel to Russia in September. Obuchi also said that Tokyo would stand behind a still unpublished proposal, made earlier this year by Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, aimed at resolving the Kuril Islands’ territorial dispute. Yeltsin is to respond to that proposal during the fall summit meeting. (Kyodo, Itar-Tass, July 26)

In Moscow, meanwhile, Russian diplomats on July 24 hailed the election of Obuchi as LDP head. Russian Foreign Ministry officials described Obuchi as someone who is intimately involved in Japanese-Russian relations and who is also as an advocate of efforts to continue strengthening bilateral ties. (Russian agencies, Kyodo, July 24)