“We have not received such a proposal,” said an official from the oil and natural gas division of the ministry’s natural resources and energy department. “This is a false report,” he added.
Meanwhile, the ministry official has not rejected the idea of constructing such a gas pipeline from Russia to Japan in general, saying: “This deserves being studied.”Japan's largest business newspaper, the Nikkei, reported on Wednesday that 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.
If the project is implemented, this will be a first gas pipeline linking Japan with another country, the report said. Japan is the world's larger importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is shipped in tankers.
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. The Japanese parliament has a group of lawmakers who call for building a gas pipeline from Sakhalin to Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Greater Tokyo.
Under the project, the pipeline could supply 20 billion cubic meters of gas annually. Japanese experts say a gas pipeline will stretch for a total 1,350km. The construction costs are estimated at 600 billion yens (slightly less than $6 billion).