JAPAN. Early signs of Soviet-Japanese rapprochement?

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is likely to visit Tokyo before next fall. One aim of the recent high-level discussions between Soviet and Japanese officials in Tokyo, is to set a date and an agenda for this visit, the Monitor has learned from well-placed Asian sources.

Soviet diplomacy vis `a vis Japan has been frozen for 10 years and Gorbachev's trip to Tokyo, in line with his diplomatic footwork since coming to power, is already considered by Asia hands as a coup.

It may explain why Gorbachev prefers to meet with United States President Ronald Reagan next fall rather than in June, these Asia observers suggest.

By then, Franois Mitterrand will have visited Moscow, and Gorbachev will have been received by Emperor Hirohito. He might then be justified in feeling his hand strengthened vis `a vis President Reagan.

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