TOKYO, October 15. /TASS/. Russia proposed to Japan to discuss an idea of building a gas pipeline from Russia’s Far Eastern island Sakhalin to the northernmost Japanese city of Wakkanai on Hokkaido Island and further to the main territory of the country, the leading Japanese business newspaper Nikkei said on Wednesday.
Russian government was reported to offer Japan to build a gas pipeline which would connect Sakhalin and Hokkaido Island. If the project is implemented, this will be a first gas pipeline linking Japan with another country, Nikkei reported. The news report was not confirmed officially.
The idea to build a gas pipeline from Russia to Japan has already been debated at the level of experts for many years, but did not reach the level of practical talks. However, the Japanese parliament has a group of lawmakers who call for support to this undertaking.
“A project of laying a gas pipeline from Sakhalin to Tokyo on the seabed along Japanese coast has been raised in the previous years,” general secretary of this parliamentary group and lawmaker of the lower house from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party Naokazu Takemoto told TASS earlier. “However, many problems arose over fishing rights and protection of marine bioresources," he noted.
“Our current project implies a gas pipeline to the Tokyo city zone on the ground from a district of the city of Wakkanai. From this Japanese city to Sakhalin, this pipeline will be built on the bottom of La Perouse Strait in a non-fishing area. This pipe will be also laid through the Tsugaru Strait between islands Hokkaido and Honshu. We do not find any ecological problems in this issue, as everything will be planned according to governmental ecological safety rules,” Naokazu said.
Japanese experts estimated that a gas pipeline from Sakhalin Island to the Ibaraki Prefecture next to the Greater Tokyo will stretch for a total 1,350km. Spending for its construction is evaluated at 600 billion yens (slightly less than $6 billion). Twenty billion cubic meters can be delivered through this gas pipeline from Sakhalin annually.