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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Japan Sets Deadline For Treaty

TOKYO -- Japan's new prime minister said Friday he wanted to sign a peace treaty and normalize relations with Russia by 2000 and planned a trip to Moscow in the fall.

In his first policy speech before parliament since becoming prime minister last week, Keizo Obuchi said he would continue the progress in ties with Moscow begun under the previous administration.

"I will do my utmost to completely normalize Japan-Russian relations by strengthening ties in various fields and by concluding a peace treaty by 2000,'' said Obuchi, a former foreign minister.

The prime minister also said he would like to visit Russia sometime in the fall.

Foreign Minister Masahiko Kamura is reportedly planning a trip to Moscow in September. Within the past year, former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and Russian President Boris Yeltsin held two summits.

The two countries have never signed a peace treaty marking the formal end of World War II, mainly because of a disagreement over control of the Kuril Islands, claimed by Japan but held by Russia since the end of the war.