A member of a visiting Soviet parliamentary delegation called on Japan today to reduce its military relations with the United States as a means of fostering peace in northeast Asia.
Communist Party Central Committee member Vagim Zagladin, at a press conference, also invited Japanese companies to help develop natural resources along the new Baikal-Amur railway line in Siberia.
The Soviet delegation, headed by Politburo member D.A. Kunayev, was filled with senior foreign policy specialists. It visited at the invitation of the Diet, Japan's legislature. Soviet-Japanese relations have been strained by the Soviet war in Afghanistan and the shooting down of a Korean Air Lines jetliner by a Soviet fighter last year. However, the Japanese government has recently indicated it wants to improve ties.
A Japanese Foreign Ministry source said Moscow's decision to send such a delegation suggested a high priority for improvement. But he said the visit has revealed no basic changes in the Soviet position.
In a meeting with Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe, Kunayev said that Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko was still considering a Japanese invitation to visit Tokyo, the source said.
In recent years, Japan has upgraded military cooperation with the United States. Zagladin warned that these ties could undermine security in the region, an apparent suggestion that Japan should not be drawn into the Soviet-U.S. tensions. "Please find a different way for security in the Far East," he said.
Zagladin also said that Japan could benefit by joining in development of natural resources of the Soviet Far East, which he described as "almost untouched." He said that another Soviet delegation will visit in December to continue discussions. Japanese business leaders reportedly gave a cool reaction to the proposals.
In meetings, Japanese officials also repeated demands for the return of a group of islands north of Japan's Hokkaido Island known here as the Northern Territories, which Soviet troops occupied in 1945. The Soviet position is that there are no territorial questions outstanding between the two countries.