Japan FM says Russia key to resolving Syria, N. Korea issues

Japan's foreign minister has pledged to continue talks with Russia even though the two countries still lack a World War II peace treaty, saying Moscow is key to resolving international threats from Syria and North Korea.

Fumio Kishida also announced Tuesday $350 million in new aid to help stabilize Syria and Iraq amid the region's massive refugee crisis, following $810 million in earlier humanitarian support.

Kishida said in a speech in Tokyo that a diplomatic dialogue between Japan and Russia is indispensable even though a territorial dispute has prevented them from technically ending their World War II hostilities. He said the two sides are seeking to hold summit talks this year. Media reports say Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might visit Russia in April.