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Abe said to be satisfied with Japan-Russia talks

Tokyo, Jan. 16 (Jiji Press) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appears to be satisfied with the outcome of Monday’s talks between the Japanese and Russian foreign ministers on the two countries’ territorial row, a former Japanese lawmaker suggested on Wednesday.

Abe said the meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, marked a “smooth start” for territorial negotiations on four Russian-held islands under a new framework, according to former House of Representatives member Muneo Suzuki.

Suzuki, who is familiar with diplomacy with Russia, was speaking to reporters after his meeting with Abe.

The foreign ministers remained apart at the meeting in Moscow, with Lavrov insisting that his country acquired the islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan and Southern Kurils in Russia, as a result of World War II.

According to Suzuki, Abe regards this year as crucial for the territorial negotiations and is ready to advance the talks promptly.

Later, Abe held a meeting with Kono, who returned home on Wednesday, and Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori, who is in charge of the negotiations with Russia.

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