The limited format meeting has just ended.
It was the first event on the programme of the visit by President of Russia Vladimir Putin to Yamaguchi Prefecture, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calls home.
Today’s meeting mostly focused on bilateral relations, the political dialogue, security, international issues, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, cooperation within the UN and in other international formats.
In terms of bilateral relations, the two leaders noted that Russia and Japan have been stepping up their contacts, which is especially true for top-level meetings.
Shinzo Abe are meeting.
In fact, this is the fourth time President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe are meeting.
In addition, for the first time in almost four years strategic dialogue at the level of first deputy foreign ministers was revived, and a number of consultations between the two foreign ministries were held, alongside contacts between secretaries of Russian and Japanese security councils.
Only recently, Moscow hosted meaningful talks between Shotaro Yachi and his Russian colleague, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev.
Russia and Japan enjoy established, steadily improving contacts between border control agencies and navigation safety personnel.
It was agreed today that we need to restore other bilateral dialogue mechanisms that were frozen in recent years.
This refers to military-level contacts, as well as the 2+2 format, which consists of meetings between the respective foreign and defence ministers.
Only a couple of 2+2 format meetings were held so far.
Sergey Shoigu and I took part in these meetings with Japanese colleagues, but this format was suspended.
Today, President of Russia Vladimir Putin proposed reviving it along with meetings between chiefs of general staff.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe responded positively.
I hope that a decision to this effect will be taken at a certain point.
As I have already said, international issues were also discussed during the meeting.
This and next year, Japan will be a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, which creates additional opportunities for working together.
It was noted that Russia and Japan have been getting on quite well in the UN Security Council.
Although our two countries do not vote the same way all the time, we have established a consultation mechanism.
Our Japanese colleagues always explain their approaches, listen very carefully to what we have to say, and try to take our position into account.
Other types of cooperation within the UN, beyond the Security Council, were also discussed.
We are grateful to our Japanese colleagues for supporting initiatives spearheaded by Russia, including on international information security, confidence-building measures in space and other matters on the UNGA agenda.
Of course, today’s meeting included an exchange of views on the Syrian settlement, the developments in Ukraine and the need to fully implement the Minsk Agreements.
The positions of Russia and Japan on these issues almost coincide.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin laid out in great detail Russia’s perspective on the ongoing efforts to lead the implementation of the February 12, 2015 Minsk Agreements out of the current deadlock.
Cooperation within the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime was another interesting dimension of bilateral relations mentioned during today’s meeting.
A project to train drug police officers from Afghanistan and Central Asia is underway.
The Russian Interior Ministry hosts the training sessions at its centre in Domodedovo, Russia, while our Japanese colleagues contribute to this project financially.
The two leaders agreed on the possibility of further developing projects of this kind and undertaking them in other areas under UN auspices.
Security issues in Asia-Pacific were also mentioned during the meeting, including missile defence and the presence of outside powers, primarily the US, in the region.
Russia believes this presence is not commensurate with the threats emanating from the DPRK and its missile and nuclear programmes, which threats the US uses as a pretext for deploying more advanced weapons in this region.
Let me reiterate that Russia believes this to be a disproportionate response.
Vladimir Putin also talked at length about the US missile defence system, and its willingness to deploy another positioning area in Northeast Asia of what Russia believes to be a global offensive system, supplementing missile-defence bases in Europe, in the Mediterranean and of course in Alaska.
We were left with the impression that our Japanese colleagues now have a better understanding of the misgivings Russia has in this respect.
It was stated during the meeting that in any case and despite the special relations between Japan and the US based on their 1960 political alliance, Russia and Japan are interested in establishing close cooperation on security issues within the existing formats in Asia-Pacific, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summits and other frameworks, including meetings of defence ministers in the ASEAN Plus Partners format.
One-on-one talks continued.
It is in this format that the two leaders decided to discuss preparations for further talks on the peace treaty.