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Report: Putin To Visit Japan In November

Russian President Putin greeting Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (file photo) 15 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Japanese media is reporting today that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to visit Tokyo in November.

Japanese government spokesman Hiroyuki Hosoda told reporters that former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori says Putin made the request to him during their meeting on 14 June in Saint Petersburg.

Mori is quoted as saying Putin hopes to make the trip either before or after the two-day Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in South Korea on 18 November.

Mori is quoted as saying Putin wants to discuss a bilateral peace treaty with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Japan has refused to sign a treaty with Russia formally ending World War II hostilities unless Russia returns four rocky islands the former Soviet Union seized in the last days of the war.

Japan has rejected Russia's offer to return two of the islands -- known in Russia as the Southern Kuriles and as the Northern Territories in Japan.