Europe

Japan minister: Economic ties will foster trust with Russia

  • Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko speaks during a press conference at the National Press Club of Japan in Tokyo Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Seko says his country’s economic relations with Russia have grown more smoothly than political ties, with about 30 joint projects ready to be signed regardless of a breakthrough in territorial issues. Seko said Monday that a final decision on the projects is up to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Japan later this week. (Osamu Hirabayashi/Kyodo News via AP)

    Japan’s Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko speaks during a press conference at the National Press Club of Japan in Tokyo Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Seko says his country’s economic relations with Russia have grown more smoothly than political ties, with about 30 joint projects ready to be signed regardless of a breakthrough in territorial issues. Seko said Monday that a final decision on the projects is up to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Japan later this week. (Osamu Hirabayashi/Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, receives a letter addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin from Kimio Waki, head of a group of former residents of the Russian-held islands off Japan's major northern island of Hokkaido, during their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Japan's Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said later Monday his country’s economic relations with Russia have grown more smoothly than political ties, with about 30 joint projects ready to be signed regardless of a breakthrough in territorial issues. Seko said that a final decision on the projects is up to Abe, who is to meet with Putin in Japan later this week. (Kyodo News via AP)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, receives a letter addressed to Russian President Vladimir Putin from Kimio Waki, head of a group of former residents of the Russian-held islands off Japan's major northern island of Hokkaido, during their meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. Japan's Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko said later Monday his country’s economic relations with Russia have grown more smoothly than political ties, with about 30 joint projects ready to be signed regardless of a breakthrough in territorial issues. Seko said that a final decision on the projects is up to Abe, who is to meet with Putin in Japan later this week. (Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second right, speaks to a group of former residents of the Russian-held islands off Japan's major northern island of Hokkaido during a meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. The meeting was held three days before Abe's meeting with Putin in Japan later in the week. A dispute over the southern Kuril islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities. The Soviet Union seized them in the war’s final days. (Kyodo News via AP)

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, second right, speaks to a group of former residents of the Russian-held islands off Japan's major northern island of Hokkaido during a meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo Monday, Dec. 12, 2016. The meeting was held three days before Abe's meeting with Putin in Japan later in the week. A dispute over the southern Kuril islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities. The Soviet Union seized them in the war’s final days. (Kyodo News via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Japan's trade minister says his country's economic relations with Russia have grown more smoothly than political ties, with about 30 joint projects ready to be signed regardless of a breakthrough in territorial issues.

Trade minister Hiroshige Seko said Monday that a final decision on the projects is up to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Japan later this week.

A dispute over the southern Kuril islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, has kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities.

Although Abe has been pushing for progress, many believe a breakthrough is unlikely during the talks on Thursday and Friday. Seko said closer economic ties that benefit both sides will help foster trust.