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New ambassador to promote Japan’s business in Russia

December 28, 2015, 15:23 UTC+3 TOKYO

While trade volumes slipped with the price of oil, new tendencies are evident, Toyohisa Kozuki says ahead of his journey to Moscow

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© AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

TOKYO, December 28. /TASS/. Japan’s new ambassador to Russia has told TASS he plans "to help promote his country's business activity on the Russian market", noting in an exclusive interview ahead of his journey to Moscow that while trade volumes had slipped with the price of oil, "new tendencies" were evident.

Toyohisa Kozuki, 59, has previous experience of Japan’s embassy life in Moscow, has directed the European department in its foreign ministry and headed the foreign minister's secretariat.

Amid the plunging oil price and ruble depreciation, two-way trade had fallen 29% by September, reflecting falling car exports and a "weak environment in Russia", he said.

Japan still imported around 10% and 8% of oil and gas from Russia, respectively, he noted. "As affected by falling oil prices, bilateral trade reduces but the real amount of Japan's oil purchases increases against figures for the same period last year," the envoy said, adding that "Russia remains an important supplier of energy resources for Japan."

Japan’s diplomat said Moscow and Tokyo had common interests in the economy, on security matters and cultural exchange.

"Japan and Russia are important neighbours, carrying much responsibility for stability and prosperity in East Asia," Kozuki said. The countries also complemented each other in economic affairs: "Japan is strong in the technological sphere and Russia is rich in energy resources."

Moscow was a "second home", the ambassador said, recalling more than eight years in Russia. "This will be already my fourth long-term business trip to Russia," he said.

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