"The Kuriles should not dividebut unite Russia and Japan.

" Putin declared this today,as he summarized his negotiations with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

During the Russian President's visit, Moscow and Tokyo agreedon economic cooperation in areas such as atomic energy the undersea Sakhalin-Hokkaidogas pipeline and the export of Russian meat products.

Vladimir Putin also stated which countryfacilitated the evacuation of combatants from Aleppo and which city may host the peace talks amongst factions taking partin the Syrian conflict.

Pavel Zarubin reports: Taut like a string.

Everything's been ready for a while already.

However, the chef won't leave the table which in a few minuteswill be hosting the Russian delegation, so he can straighten out dishes on the tablewhich are already in perfect order.

On the second day of the visit, The Japanese continue to demonstratemaximum hospitality.

At the working breakfastthe tables are set and in the traditional Japanese dishes.

Let's have a quick look.

small appetizers.

The red carpet in the main entranceis covered in polyethylene, as everyone awaits the official ceremonyfor Putin's arrival, and even Prime Minister Abehaving arrived earlier will be avoiding the main entranceand entering through a side door.

"We are sincerely happyyou've come to visit, Vladimir," Abe will eventually tell him.

The Russian leader's arrival has beenhighly anticipated by Japanese government officials and mass media,with many of them so excited, that they have started believingtheir own illusions, that there could be a lightning-fast decisionmade on their number one issue.

But the Kuriles are Russian territory, and Japanese journalists,sounding somewhat dissatisfied, are asking "What must Japan do?How flexible should we be?" We have to stop this historical ping-pongover these territories.

At the end of the daywe have to understand that the fundamental interestsof both Japan and Russia require a final and long-term settlement.

That is the whole issue.

But there a lot of issues here to discuss, including those of economic activityand issues of security.

For example, In 1956, when the Soviet Union and Japan were close to solving this conflict, The United States, practically at the behestof then Secretary of State Dulles, announced an ultimatum to Japan.

If Japan were to do anything with runs counterto the interests of the US, then Okinawa would be placed entirelyunder US jurisdiction.

There is a reason I mention this: We have to relate respectfully toall countries in the region, as well as to the interestsof the United States.

That is absolutely clear.

But, what does this mean exactly? It means that, for example, in Vladivostok, just a bit to the north,we have two large naval bases.

Our ocean-going vessels use themto enter the Pacific Ocean.

We have to understandwhat will occur in this area.

And in relation to this, have in mind the special relationship which existsbetween the United States and Japan.

Iincluding their contractual obligationswithin the framework of the security agreementbetween the US and Japan.

How will we build these relationships? We don't know.

And when we talk about flexibility, we would like for ourJapanese colleagues and friends to take all these nuances into account, as well as the concernsof the Russian side.

Russia and Japan,as Putin once again emphasized, must take the long roadto building a relationship based on trust Both sides agreed to discussthe possibility of joint economic activityin the Kurile Islands territory.

Moscow is considering ways to make it easier for former Japanese inhabitants to visits the graves of their ancestors.

The problem of a peace agreementand its solution is our sincere desireand we express that openly.

However, it is too early to saywe have resolved it.

The road ahead is difficult,but I think we'll manage to traverse it.

These islands could very well becomeinstead of a bone of contention between Russia and Japan, just the opposite they can be something with bringsRussia and Japan together.

If anyone thinks we are just interested in establishing economic relations, and making the peace agreementa second priority, that is not the case.

Japan spent 70 yearswithout economic ties to Russia.

Or without meaningful ones, anyway.

And we both lived with it.

We can keep living this way We can.

Is that the right thing to do? No, it's not.

Because, if we join forces the competitiveness of oureconomies will grow significantly.

That is what we should strive for.

And then immediately80 mutual economic documents.

Japan, who earlier had toedthe line of Washington and supported sanctions against Russia,today signed a whole list of new agreements with Russia.

We signed a document on joint cooperationon the shelf specifically, in the subsoil of the Sakhalin regionin the Sea of Okhotsk.

And stage three is the Sakhalin 2 Project as well as such projects as the Baltic LNGand the Amur Gas Processing Plant.

In Japan, they are observinga Year of Russian Culture.

We will bring an entireretrospective of Chekhov's plays, They have historically always been quitepopular here.

President Putin thanked Japanfor its hospitality But what is interesting is the detail that Prime Minister Abe tried quite hardto invite him to the hot springs.

What did you manage to doand try during your visit? I managed to try just oneof the hot springs It was a locally produced Sakecalled "Eastern Beauty.

" I really recommend it, but, as we say,you have to know your limits.

Having arrived in TokyoPutin of course had to visit The martial arts center for Kodokan Judo.

Here Putin met the formerJapanese Prime Minister Mori and his old friendOlympic judo champion Yamashita.

The Japanese leader Abe is nota judo enthusiast, but joked that he's ready to try it out.

Putin last visited this center 16 years ago walking out onto the tatami mat anddisplaying almost a dozen different throws.

At the time the Russian earneda diploma and a 6th Dan belt.

During his visit to Japanjournalists asked Putin about key international events.

One of the main themes was Syria.

What's happening nowin Palmyra is the result of actions which were not agreed upon bythe so-called international coalitions the Syrian government, and Russia.

The issue of PalmyraI think is a purely symbolic one.

In the military and political sense, Aleppo is of course of fargreater importance.

The President said that in Aleppo,combatants are being evacuated who have agreed to lay down arms.

And Turkey has worked as an intermediary.

I agreed with President Erdogan that we will offer the opposing sides our side representing the Syrian government and the Turkish President representingthe armed opposition, to continue the peace talks processin a new environment.

That new environment could be the capitalof Kazakhstan, Astana.

If both sides can agreethen they will request that Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev give hissupport to the peace process.

Pavel Zarubin Andrei MelnikovSergei Mingazhev Alexei Pichko Dmitry ErmolenkoYuri Lebedev Yulia Vorobyova Vesti.

Japan.