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Japanese and Russian leaders to meet on sidelines of G8 Summit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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TOKYO (AP)- Japan”s Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Scotland, a spokesman for Koizumi said Thursday.

The two countries have been negotiating a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities. Their leaders were in Gleneagles, Scotland for a three-day summit of the Group of Eight major industrial countries that started Wednesday.

Koizumi and Putin had been expected to discuss Putin”s November visit to Tokyo in the 30-minute meeting on Thursday afternoon, said the spokesman, Yu Kameoka.

Tokyo and Moscow re-established diplomatic ties in 1956. But a dispute over ownership of four Russian-held Pacific Ocean islands, called the Northern Territories by Tokyo and the Kurils by Moscow, has prevented the two countries from signing a treaty.

Soviet troops seized the islands in the closing days of the war. Koizumi is under heavy domestic pressure to win their return to Japanese sovereignty.

Putin”s visit will be scheduled for before or after the November 18-19 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in South Korea, which the Russian leader is to attend, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.