YEREVAN, October 25. /TASS/. The consultations on joint economic activities on the Kuril Islands between Russia and Japan at the level of deputy foreign ministers are expected in end-2017 or the beginning of 2018, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Wednesday.
According to Deputy Minister, Moscow has agreed with Japanese colleagues that the meetings of two work groups at the level of directors of departments will follow the second business mission to the Kuril Islands in end-October. One of those work groups will discuss joint economic projects, while the other will deal with the issues of transportation of those involved in joint economic activities.
"Such meetings will follow this business mission, after which I will be ready to hold another round of consultations with my Japanese colleague. I think that those work groups will gather in the near future, by the end of the year, (while the consultations at the level of deputy foreign ministers are expected) at the end of this year or the beginning of next year," he said.
The second business mission from Japan plans to visit Russia’s Kuril Islands on October 27-30 to develop the projects for joint economic activities on the islands of Kunashir, Shikotan and Iturup. The delegation will work at local fish, energy, tourism, waste processing and agriculture facilities.
A delegation of 69 Japanese government officials and businessmen first visited the Kunashir, Iturup and Shikotan islands of the South Kuril Archipelago on June 27 - July 1. The delegation assessed the infrastructure facilities and explored the possibilities for implementing joint projects. They visited 64 facilities, including hospitals, power stations, sports centers and a hotel currently under construction.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put forward an eight-point cooperation plan to develop the relations with Russia during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 6, 2016. The plan includes efforts to foster relations between Japan and Russia in the energy sector, small and medium-sized businesses, the promotion of industrialization of the Far East, expansion of the export base, as well as the proposal to strengthen cooperation in the cutting-edge technologies, including nuclear energy, and the sphere of humanitarian exchanges. Later 30 priority projects for cooperation were defined.
On September 7, 2017 following a meeting with Abe, Putin said that the two counties’ foreign ministries had selected a number of promising projects ready for implementation, including in the field of aquaculture, wind energy, greenhouse business, waste recycling and package tours. The two sides consider joint economic activities to be a step towards making a peace treaty. Meanwhile, Japanese analysts have said that Tokyo and Moscow have different views regarding implementation of those projects. Russia proposes to do it within the limits of the Russian legislation, while Japan suggests that a certain ‘special system’ should be established on those territories.