Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has confirmed his country’s determination to establish constructive dialogue between Tokyo and Moscow during a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

“I am also determined to establish constructive dialogue with you,” he said at the beginning of the meeting.

Kono stressed that he “is glad to see the ongoing intense political dialogue led by such strong leaders as Prime Minister Abe and President Putin.”

The newly-appoinged Japanese foreign minister noted that his grandfather took part in the negotiations on a peace treaty between Japan and the Soviet Union. “My grandfather invested efforts to sign a peace treaty between Japan and the Soviet Union, and he was probably the first Japanese to visit the Kremlin,” he said, adding that his father too was involved in developing the Japanese-Soviet and Japanese-Russian relations.

That was Lavrov’s first face-to-face meeting with his new Japanese counterpart. The Japanese minister said that he is glad to have an opportunity to meet with Russia’s top diplomat immediately after assuming office.

Lavrov said Moscow expects Tokyo to continue to pursue the policy aimed at implementing the agreements with Russia reached earlier with the appointment of the new foreign minister.

“We had a very fruitful dialogue and work with Mr. [Fumio] Kishida, your predecessor. We wish him every success with his new activities. I hope that we will ensure the continuity of our relations in accordance with the agreements reached by the Russian president and the Japanese prime-minister,” Lavrov said during his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

Taro Kono, 54, was appointed Foreign Minister last week following reshuffle in Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet. Fumio Kishida who served as Japanese Foreign Minister since 2012 was appointed to a leading position in the Liberal-Democratic Party.

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