Visiting Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko met with his Japanese counterpart, Kiichi Miyazawa, on Saturday (10 January) to discuss various bilateral issues, including Japan's claim to four Soviet-held south Kurile islands.
EXTERIOR FOREIGN MINISTRY: POLICE SECURITY: GROMYKO AND MIYAZAWA ENTERING CONFERENCE ROOM AND SEATED: GROMYKO AND MIYAZAWA SPEAKING: NEWSMEN.
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Background: Visiting Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko met with his Japanese counterpart, Kiichi Miyazawa, on Saturday (10 January) to discuss various bilateral issues, including Japan's claim to four Soviet-held south Kurile islands.
Security surrounding the Japanese Foreign Ministry in Tokyo was tight as the first round of discussions got under way. Japanese rightists have threatened to demonstrate against the Soviet Foreign Minister's visit, his third to Japan since 1966.
The Japanese government considers Gromyko's five-day visit to be of great importance to the future of Soviet-Japanese relations. Despite efforts to establish closer ties since diplomatic relations were restored in 1956, important problems remain unsolved between Japan and the Soviet Union.
Among the main problems is Japan's demand for the package return of the four Kurile islands off Hokkaido as a precondition to the proposed Soviet-Japanese peace treaty.
Another issue expected to dominate the discussions is the so-called "anti-hegemony" clause in the proposed peace treaty between Japan and The People's Republic of China. The Moscow government views this clause as being anti-Soviet in its implications.
Japanese Foreign Minister Miyazawa is also expected to press for an assurance of safe operations by Japanese fishing boats off the disputed Kurile islands.
Foreign Minister Gromyko, who is accompanied by his wife and a 15-member delegation, will meet Japanese Prime Minister Takeo Miki and emperor Hirohito on Monday (12 January).