It was learned that Vice Foreign Minister Shinsuke Sugiyama and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov held unofficial talks in Tokyo on Nov. 16. It is reckoned that the two officials discussed the Northern Territories issue in preparation for President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December.
According to a Japanese government source, the meeting took place at a Foreign Ministry facility in Minato Ward, Tokyo. Two officials each on the Japanese and Russian sides participated in the luncheon meeting. Morgulov was accompanied by First Vice Premier Igor Shuvalov.
Although special envoy for Japan-Russia relations Chikahito Harada had so far been responsible for negotiations with Morgulov on the bilateral peace treaty, he was not present at this meeting. It is believed that the meeting took place because Sugiyama wanted to convey Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s intent to the Russian side more directly.