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TOKYO, March 19, 7:55 /ITAR-TASS/. As a result of last year, Japan reached out to 7th place on the list of Russia's trading partners, getting ahead of such countries as the United States, Turkey, and Italy, Alexei Likhachyov, Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development, said here on Wednesday. He leads a Russian delegation at the 6th Russia-Japan investment forum which opened here earlier in the day.
"The point now is to elevate relations to a new level, research-intensive production processes, in particular," the RF Deputy Minister of Economic Development pointed out.
At the opening of the forum, Yevgeny Afanasyev, the Ambassador of the RF to Japan, read out a message from Russia's President Vladimir Putin. In the message, the Russian leader pointed out that the economic contacts between the two countries follow an upward trend and gain in scope up to a record-high mark.
An enhancement of bilateral economic relations was also emphasized by Japan's Premier Shinzo Abe in his address. He pointed out that "along with traditional energy-related fields the two countries actively develop relations in the fields of culture, medicine, and food production".
The Russian delegation, which consists of more than 200 people representing key government ministries, major companies and enterprises, and Russia's regions includes Igor Sechin, president of the Rosneft Company, and Yuri Lisin, first vice-president of the OAO (public joint-stock company) Transneft.
Japan is represented by the leading officials of economic ministries, the executives of the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) and major corporations, among them Toshiba, Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsui, and the Bank for International Economic Cooperation. The aggregate number of participants in the forum from Russia and Japan is about 700.
Under discussion at the forum on Wednesday are matters concerning refinement of the investment climate in the RF and the opening up of new areas of investment-related cooperation between the two countries.
Roundtable meetings are being held to discuss the most important aspects of Russia-Japan economic relations. Those present discuss, in particular, such areas of cooperation as energy-saving, new projects in the automobile industry, and in the field of technological innovations.
The delegates also discuss the development of relations between the two countries in the fields of medicine, transport, and infrastructure. An exhibition of the RF agrarian investment projects has been arranged as well.
As a result of the forum, it is planned to sign a number of investment agreements in the sphere of Russia-Japan cooperation. The Russia-Japan investment forum was instituted in September 2006. The Forum's first session took place in St Petersburg and the latest meeting of the two sides was held within the framework of the forum in Kazan in the summer of 2012. At that time, the sides signed a number of important agreements, including those on building a wood chemistry complex in Krasnoyarsk Territory, as well as a memorandum on the manufacture of polyester fabrics in Tatarstan's special economic zone "Alabuga", on the processing of polyethylene containers in Kazan, and the establishment of energy facilities in Russia's Far East.