Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 171

Russia and Japan yesterday reaffirmed their determination to follow through on three key foreign policy goals: to sign a peace treaty formally ending World War II by the year 2000, to resolve a territorial row over the four south Kuril Islands, and to implement a previously agreed upon economic cooperation plan. The pledges came during a Kremlin meeting between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto (Itar-Tass, Kyodo, September 17).

Yeltsin and Hashimoto had set the above goals during summit meetings in November of last year and April of this year. Hashimoto’s current visit to Moscow is part of an attempt by Tokyo to ensure that diplomatic momentum between the two countries is maintained despite Hashimoto’s departure from the Japanese Prime Minister post and continuing political and economic turmoil in Russia. Hashimoto, who is now serving as a senior foreign policy adviser to current Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi, also said yesterday that Japan will continue to support Russia’s reforms without setting conditions or interfering in Moscow’s domestic policy (Itar-Tass, September 17).

In a meeting separate from that of Hashimoto and Yeltsin, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov also held talks yesterday with Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Minoru Tamba. During those talks Ivanov reportedly emphasized that Russia’s recent change of government will not result in changes in the country’s foreign policy and that Moscow will not backtrack on its international commitments. He suggested that friendly relations with Japan remain an important part of Russia’s broader foreign policy goals (Itar-Tass, September 17).