The Latest: Putin visits judo center in downtown Tokyo

AP News
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Posted: Dec 16, 2016 5:09 AM
The Latest: Putin visits judo center in downtown Tokyo

TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan (all times local):

7 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited the Kodokan Judo Institute, a judoists' mecca in downtown Tokyo, as he wrapped up his two-day visit to Japan.

Putin studied judo when he was young and holds the black belt, the highest rank, and has said judo is a big part of his life.

Putin, who demonstrated overhead throw and other judo skills in his last visit in 2000, only watched demonstration by a pair of judoists while seated in a chair next to his friend Yasuhiro Yamashita, a Japanese Olympic gold medalist in judo in 1984 and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Putin and Abe occasionally chatted and looked relaxed after rounds of intense talks over the last two days, including territorial disputes over the Kuril Islands, which the former Soviet Union seized from Japan in 1945.

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5:15 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the business community in Japan will expand cooperation with Russia to help it develop its manufacturing sector.

Abe and Putin wrapped up summit meetings Friday that finalized nearly 70 agreements on economic, cultural, science and sports cooperation, though no deal on a long-running territorial dispute.

Speaking to business leaders, Abe said Japanese corporations would work with Russian business to help them diversify. The two countries plan to cooperate on development of natural gas and coal infrastructure, nuclear energy, agriculture, medical services and other areas.

Putin said he hoped the expanded cooperation would help restore trade flows that have suffered recently as sanctions over the Ukraine have bit into Russia's exports.

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4:15 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that he and his Turkish counterpart are working to launch a new round of peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition.

Putin said Friday at a news conference in Tokyo that the negotiations would take place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

It wasn't immediately clear if the western-backed Syrian opposition would accept the location for peace talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

Putin is in Tokyo for a summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss a long-running territorial dispute between Russia and Japan.

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4 p.m.

Japan and Russia have agreed to hold talks on joint economic development on four islands at the center of a territorial dispute between the countries.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the agreement Friday at the conclusion of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The talks promise to be difficult as the countries disagree under whose laws such development would occur. Russia controls the islands, but Japan claims sovereignty over them too.

Abe said that joint development would be an important step toward a peace treaty. Japan and Russia have not signed a treaty ending World War II because of the island dispute.

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3 p.m.

The leaders of Russia and Japan, holding their talks for a second day in Tokyo, have agreed to bolster economic cooperation as a way to deepen their relations divided by a longstanding territorial issue.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his opening remark on Friday that there was little economic cooperation between the countries and more of that would help expand their relations.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said dozens of projects are ready for signing.

Putin arrived in Japan Thursday, when he and Abe discussed divisive issues including the four disputed islands still keeping the two countries from signing a peace treaty. There is no sign of progress on the islands' sovereignty issue.

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2 p.m.

Japan has announced a relaxation of visa requirements for Russians visitors as President Vladimir Putin holds summit talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Friday that a multiple-entry visa will be introduced for short-term stays, including tourism, in addition to the existing single-entry visa.

Also, a letter of reference from a guarantor will no longer be required for applicants who finance their own travel to Japan.

Japan will also expand eligibility for multiple entry visas for business purposes and cultural and intellectual figures and extend the validity period for those visas from up to 3 years to 5 years.

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1:10 p.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Tokyo for a second day of talks to wrap up a two-day summit focused on economic cooperation and a stalled territorial dispute.

Putin, who arrived about two hours late the day before, was late again Friday —this time because of mechanical problem with his presidential aircraft. Putin flew on a backup aircraft, according to Japanese media, and landed in Tokyo about 45 minutes behind schedule.

He and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe focused on territorial issues, including a possibility of discussing joint economic projects there, during their first round of talks at a host springs resort in western Japan. Their talks at the prime minister's office Friday will focus on the economy.

Abe is pushing to make progress on the longstanding disputes on four small islands then-Soviet Union seized at the end of World War II, which preventing the two countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending the war.

10:50 a.m.

The leaders of Russia and Japan are heading to Tokyo to wrap up a two-day summit focused on economic cooperation and a protracted territorial dispute that has defied resolution.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe left separately on Friday morning from a hot springs resort in western Japan where they held a first round of talks the previous evening.

The dispute over four small islands that the then-Soviet Union took control of at the end of World War II has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty formally ending the war.