Europe

The Latest: Japan relaxes visa requirements for Russians

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon Putin's arrival to attend a working lunch in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. The leaders of Russia and Japan move to Tokyo on Friday to wrap up a two-day summit on an economic cooperation agreement and a protracted territorial dispute that has prevented their countries from signing a peace treaty to end World War II. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, walks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon Putin's arrival to attend a working lunch in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. The leaders of Russia and Japan move to Tokyo on Friday to wrap up a two-day summit on an economic cooperation agreement and a protracted territorial dispute that has prevented their countries from signing a peace treaty to end World War II. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, as Russian First Deputy Prime MInister Igor Shuvalov looks at his cell phone prior to a working lunch by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, as Russian First Deputy Prime MInister Igor Shuvalov looks at his cell phone prior to a working lunch by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, attend a working lunch at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, attend a working lunch at Abe's official residence in Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The Latest on Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan (all times local):

2 p.m.

Japan has announced a relaxation of visa requirements for Russians visitors as President Vladimir Putin holds summit talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Friday that a multiple-entry visa will be introduced for short-term stays, including tourism, in addition to the existing single-entry visa.

Also, a letter of reference from a guarantor will no longer be required for applicants who finance their own travel to Japan.

Japan will also expand eligibility for multiple entry visas for business purposes and cultural and intellectual figures and extend the validity period for those visas from up to 3 years to 5 years.

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1:10 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Tokyo for a second day of talks to wrap up a two-day summit focused on economic cooperation and a stalled territorial dispute.

Putin, who arrived about two hours late the day before, was late again Friday — this time because of mechanical problem with his presidential aircraft. Putin flew on a backup aircraft, according to Japanese media, and landed in Tokyo about 45 minutes behind schedule.

He and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe focused on territorial issues, including a possibility of discussing joint economic projects there, during their first round of talks at a host springs resort in western Japan. Their talks at the prime minister's office Friday will focus on the economy.

Abe is pushing to make progress on the longstanding disputes on four small islands then-Soviet Union seized at the end of World War II, which preventing the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending the war.

10:50 a.m.

The leaders of Russia and Japan are heading to Tokyo to wrap up a two-day summit focused on economic cooperation and a protracted territorial dispute that has defied resolution.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left separately on Friday morning from a hot springs resort in western Japan where they held a first round of talks the previous evening.

The dispute over four small islands that the then-Soviet Union took control of at the end of World War II has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty formally ending the war.

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9:25 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he showed Russian President Vladimir Putin several letters written by former Japanese residents of disputed islands now held by Russia.

He said one was written in Russian, and Putin read it in front of Abe during talks between the two leaders on Thursday. He did not say how Putin reacted.

The four islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the southern Kurils in Russia, were seized by the former Soviet Union at the end of the World War II, preventing the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their wartime hostilities.

All 17,000 Japanese residents of the islands were expelled to the nearby main Japanese island of Hokkaido, and only about a third of them are still alive.

Abe has been pushing to make progress on the dispute.

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9:20 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he and Russian President Vladimir Putin spent much of their three-hour talks Thursday discussing a longstanding territorial dispute and a peace treaty between the two countries.

"We had in-depth discussions on a peace treaty," Abe told reporters after the talks at a hot spring resort in western Japan, which will continue in Tokyo on Friday.

He said the two leaders also discussed possible joint economic projects on the four disputed islands held by Russia since the closing days of World War II.

Abe did not say if there was any progress on the territorial issue. Disagreements over the four southern Kuril islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, have kept the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities.

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7:50 p.m.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Russia and Japan have agreed to resume "2-plus-2" ministerial talks on defense and diplomacy.

Lavrov said Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reached the agreement in talks Thursday in Nagato city in western Japan. Lavrov also attended the meeting.

In the first and only "2-plus-2" talks among their foreign and defense ministers in November 2013, the two countries agreed to step up military cooperation amid a growing security threat from North Korea. Lavrov attended that meeting as Russia's top diplomat.

Abe and Putin also were expected to discuss a longstanding territorial dispute during their talks, which will continue Friday in Tokyo.

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6:05 p.m.

The leaders of Russia and Japan have begun talks at a hot springs resort in western Japan.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were meeting Thursday evening in the city of Nagato. They started more than two hours later than scheduled because Putin's plane arrived late.

Abe told Putin that the hot spring waters of Nagato are famous for relieving fatigue. He said he could guarantee that they would take care of any fatigue from their talks.

Putin replied, "Better not to get too tired."

Abe invited Putin to Japan in hopes of making progress on a longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries that has prevented them from signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II.

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4:50 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has landed at an airport in western Japan for a two-day summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

His Rossiya Airlines plane touched down at 4:50 p.m. at Yamaguchi Ube Airport on the coast of western Japan. He and Abe are meeting at a hot springs resort in Nagato, the ancestral hometown of the Japanese prime minister.

Putin arrived two hours and 40 minutes behind schedule.

The visit is Putin's first official one to a G-7 country since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, and the G-7 nations imposed sanctions on Russia.

Abe invited Putin in hopes of making progress on a longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries that has prevented them from signing a peace treaty formally ending World War II.