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Japan’s economy minister calls for intensifying contacts with Russia

November 01, 2016, 11:14 UTC+3 TOKYO

The Japanese economy minister is expected to visit Moscow on November 3-5

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© AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi

TOKYO, November 1. /TASS/. The Japanese government hopes that the development of economic cooperation with Russia will make it possible for businesses at a regional level to join this process, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, who is charge with relations with Russia, told TASS on Tuesday. He is expected to visit Moscow this week to specify cooperation plans.

"Interest in cooperation with Russia has been shown at the local level not only by Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, but by other regions too, such as Niigata and Toyama prefectures," the minister said. "We would like the strengthening of economic ties with Russia to be linked to the development of our regions’ economy. They already have a high level of cooperation with your country at a business level. I believe that more and more companies will join cooperation at a regional level with the development of our ties."

Currently, many Japanese regions, primarily northern Hokkaido, are drafting their own plans to develop relations. The Niigata Prefecture located along the coast of the Sea of Japan is pinning high hopes on that. In particular, it is in favor of laying a gas pipeline from Russia to that region and the construction of a liquefied natural gas venture there.

Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, is expected to visit Moscow on November 3-5. During his visit, he is to hold consultations to specify the cooperation plans put forward to by the two sides. Seko earlier said that he is planning to have talks with Russian Economic Development Minister, Alexei Ulyukayev, and Alexander Galushka, the Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East.

Middle East energy dependence

Tokyo is determined to get rid of excessive dependence on the Middle East energy resources by developing relations with Russia, the minister said.

"One of the most important points of our energy policy is to eliminate dependence on the Middle East, it is too high. It is very important to cooperate with Russia in this area, which includes the development of new energy supply routes," Seko stressed.

The minister added that during his visit to Moscow he is planning to check on the progress of implementing the eight-point plan of cooperation with Russia proposed by Japan. "Then specific projects can be discussed with our Russian colleagues in November in Peru where the APEC summit will be held," Seko said. "Funding issues will be discussed too. Some projects involve high costs, it is also necessary to check the two countries’ legislations concerning any contradictions."

The eight-point plan to develop relations between the two countries was put forward by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Sochi on May 6. It envisages fostering relations between Japan and Russia in the energy sector, small and medium-sized businesses, the promotion of the industrialization of the Far East as well as expanding exports. In addition, it contains a proposal to bolster cooperation in advanced technologies, including the nuclear power industry, and in humanitarian exchanges.

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