TOKYO, January 26. /TASS/. Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has shown discontent over Moscow’s invitation for foreign partners to join fisheries projects in the Southern Kuril Islands if Tokyo turns down the proposal.
"The participation of third countries in the economic development of the Northern Territories (the way Japan calls the Southern Kurils) is unacceptable and is not in line with Japan’s position," Kishida told reporters in Tokyo after a government meeting.
The Japanese foreign minister also underlined the need to resolve the territorial dispute. "That’s why this year we would like to necessary achieve progress in the Japanese-Russian relations."
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev, who is also the presidential envoy to the Far East, told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos that Russia wants to develop the Kuril Islands "at a brisk pace."
"The conditions are ideal there for fishing and fish farming. So we are inviting Japanese companies, and are ready to give them priority in joint ventures," Trutnev said. "But if they turn it down - we will find others who are willing to work with us. And I know that it can be of great interest to other foreign investors," he added.
Japan refuses to participate in the economic projects on the Kuril Islands and does not recommend its citizens to visit them saying that the necessary completion of the Russian documents confirms Moscow’s sovereignty over the Southern Kurils.
The long-running dispute over the Southern Kuril Islands remains the main obstacle for the settlement in the relations between Russia and Japan and signing of the peace treaty. After the end of World War II, all the Kuril Islands were declared the territory of the Soviet Union. Japan claims Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Khabomai as part of its territory.