Moscow, May 13 (Jiji Press) — Governors from Japanese prefectures and Russian provinces held talks in Moscow on Monday for the first time in nine years to discuss regional cooperation and exchanges between the two countries.
From Japan, the governors of Hokkaido, Ibaraki, Saitama, Toyama, Gifu, Tottori, Okayama and Kagoshima prefectures took part in the meeting.
They were joined by about 20 people from Russia, including Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin.
At the beginning of the meeting, Valentina Matviyenko, speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, read out a message from President Vladimir Putin that stressed the importance of regional partnerships in promoting relations between the two countries.
Kiyoshi Ueda, governor of Saitama and president of Japan’s National Governors’ Association, said, “I believe that exchanges like the latest meeting will help deepen bonds and a sense of affinity between the two countries at the grassroots level.”
The agenda included regional cooperation, promotion of small and midsize businesses, industry and infrastructure development, and cultural and youth exchanges.
Hokkaido Governor Naomichi Suzuki said deepening regional exchanges in various fields will help the two countries strengthen their relationship of trust and resolve their territorial dispute and conclude a peace treaty.
The dispute over four northwestern Pacific islands off the coast of Hokkaido prevents the two countries from concluding a World War II peace treaty.
At their summit talks in January, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Putin welcomed the resumption of the governors’ meeting, which was last held in Moscow in 2010.
Japan hopes that greater regional exchanges with Russia will help promote progress in the territorial and peace treaty talks.