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Koizumi to leave for Moscow Thurs. to sign action plan.

TOKYO, Jan. 7 Kyodo

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will leave for Moscow Thursday to sign with Russian President Vladimir Putin a document they hope will be a beacon to boost bilateral ties in various fields including nonpolitical areas.

Koizumi and Putin will sign the six-item action plan in talks slated for Friday in Moscow that will feature the need for efforts to settle territorial disputes before signing a post-World War II peace treaty, as well as boosting economic and cultural ties, Japanese government officials said.

The premier will also seek a breakthrough in stalled dialogue with North Korea through his talks with Putin and possibly with his aide who is close to Pyongyang leader Kim Jong Il during his four-day visit to Moscow and Khabarovsk, the officials said.

The action plan is being compiled as an updated version of what Tokyo calls fundamental diplomatic documents -- the 1956 Joint Declaration of Japan and the Soviet Union, the 1993 Tokyo Declaration and the 2001 Irkutsk Statement.

The need to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and prevent weapons of mass destruction from proliferating in it will also be pillars of the plan.

Koizumi and Putin will propose nations sign a comprehensive antiterrorism treaty or a similar one covering terror attacks using nuclear weapons as concrete measures in bilateral efforts to foster cooperation in the international arena.

The other pillars will be reactivating bilateral political dialogue, strengthening security and defense cooperation, and cultural exchanges.

Koizumi and Putin will give a joint press conference after the summit and a signing ceremony Friday afternoon, they said.

Koizumi will become the third Japanese premier to pay an official visit to Russia since Tokyo and Moscow normalized diplomatic ties in 1956.

After leaving the Russian capital Saturday's evening, Koizumi plans to meet in Khabarovsk on Sunday with Konstantin Pulikovskii, Putin's representative for federal affairs in the Russian Far East who has met Kim several times.

It will be the first time for a Japanese premier to visit the Russian Far East region. The visit can show Tokyo's interest in it both in political and economic terms, the officials said.

The territory in dispute consists of Kunashiri, Etorofu and Shikotan islands and the Habomai group of islets off Hokkaido. All were seized from Japan by the Soviet Union at the end of the war. Hokkaido is Japan's northernmost main island.

The dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty after the war.

In Moscow, Koizumi will deliver a speech about the future of atomic power Saturday at an international conference to be held at the Kurchatov Institute, Russia's top nuclear research body.

He will talk about peacetime use of atomic energy and Japanese and Russian efforts in the elimination of nuclear weapons at the event, which is to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Igor Kurchatov, the Soviet Union's top atomic researcher, the officials said.

In Khabarovsk, Koizumi will meet with Khabarovsk Territory Gov. Viktor Ishaev to discuss the territorial issue and bilateral economic cooperation in the region.

After giving another news conference in Khabarovsk, Koizumi will return to Japan later Sunday.
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Publication:Japan Policy & Politics
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jan 13, 2003
Words:516
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