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Japanese politicians seek state support for Sakhalin-Tokyo pipeline

June 09, 2014, 14:04 UTC+3 TOKYO
Japanese politicians say the project would “effectively help the Japanese strategy of economic growth, plans to restructure the country’s energy sector and restore the calamity-hit areas”
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TOKYO, June 09. /ITAR-TASS/. A group of 33 Japanese deputies has addressed the Japanese Prime Minister to assist the project of the first-ever gas pipeline from the Russian Far Eastern island of Sakhalin to Tokyo, lower house’s deputy from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Naokazu Takemoto told ITAR-TASS on Monday.

The group pointed to the state importance of the project that had been prepared for years would “effectively help the Japanese strategy of economic growth, plans to restructure the country’s energy sector and restore the calamity-hit areas”, said the politician. The project will also help strengthen ties with Russia and resolve the territorial dispute, Takemoto believes.

The project, which is now in the development stage, will be carried out by a consortium of private companies. According to Takemoto, Russia has pledged support for the idea as it has natural gas resources needed for supplies to Japan.

The previous project to lay a gas pipeline from Sakhalin to Tokyo on the seabed along the Japanese coast was rejected due to problems with fishing rights. The current project proposes a pipeline to Tokyo on land from Wakkanai, the northernmost city of Japan, which will be connected to Sakhalin with a pipeline section running on the seabed of the La Perouse Strait in an area free from fishing. Other sections will be laid through the Tsugaru Strait between the islands of Hokkaido and Honshu.

By expert estimates, the pipeline from Sakhalin to the Ibaraki Prefecture adjacent to the Greater Tokyo Area will run a total of 1,350 kilometers, while the costs are expected at reach $6 billion. The pipeline will be capable of supplying 20 billion cubic meters of gas a year.

After all nuclear power plants were halted following the Fukushima-1 disaster, Japan sharply expanded liquefied gas purchases. Last year, it spent about $70 billion for this purpose, more than double of the amount spent three years ago.

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