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  Saturday, November 16, 2019
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Russia's outgoing president told Japan's prime minister at talks near Moscow
Russia's outgoing president told Japan's prime minister at talks near Moscow on Saturday that the countries are moving in the right direction on reaching a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities.

A dispute over the South Kuril Islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories, which were annexed by the Soviet Union after World War II, has prevented the two countries from signing a peace deal.

Opening talks with Yasuo Fukuda at the presidential residence near Moscow, Vladimir Putin told the premier: "We are continuing dialogue on a peace agreement and are creating the right conditions for progress along this route."

The sides also discussed the Group of Eight summit to be hosted by Japan in July. Russia will be represented at the event by Putin's hand-picked successor, president-elect Dmitry Medvedev, who is set to meet with Fukuda later today.

The Japanese premier told Putin: "we have two top-level meetings planned for today and for the G8 summit on the island of Hokkiado. I would like to establish a personal trusting relationship, and using the positive dynamic that has been established, would like to give an additional boost to the strengthening of relations in all areas."

Medvedev will be inaugurated as president on May 7, and Putin will become prime minister.

Fukuda earlier visited a school in Moscow to watch a Japanese class being taught.

After meeting with pupils from the lycee, he said: "I am very surprised that so many people in Russia are studying Japanese."

There are currently 14 schools in Moscow teaching the language.

"The Japanese government intends to continue efforts to popularize the national language and expand programs for Russian-Japanese exchanges," he said.


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