Alexander Yakovenko on Russo-Japanese relations

Developing relations with its Far Eastern neighbor Japan, a member of the Group of Eight and one of the world's biggest economic powers, is a priority of Russian foreign policy, Alexander Yakovenko, an official spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, told RIA Novosti in advance of Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi's arrival in Moscow.

"Russian-Japanese ties have recently been characterized with growing activity of political dialogue, deeper understanding, and similar approaches to many of the international and regional problems," said the diplomat. He added that Moscow officials regarded closer interaction with Japan on the international scene as "a weighty factor improving bilateral links and strengthening stability and security in the Asia Pacific Region and in the whole world." "Considerable positive changes took place in Russian-Japanese relations over the past period," went on the diplomat, explaining that the changes were based on Russia's policy of democratic and market reforms and the fact that the policy in question was consistently supported by the Japanese government.

Yakovenko also said Russian-Japanese relations were developing "in a qualitatively new format." That, he said, was called forth by mutual adherence to universal democratic values and Japan's decreasing tendency to link bilateral relations with unsolved problems. Both the countries are also eager to cooperate on the international scene.

"Mutual trust, mutual advantage, long-range motivation, close economic cooperation - all these basic principles of developing relations have been coordinated at the top level," stressed the foreign ministry spokesman.

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