MOSCOW, February 26. /TASS/. The Japanese government is set to propose to Russia a specific plan for joint economic development in the Southern Kuril islands, which particularly implies that medical institutions and universities in Hokkaido remotely provide medical services to the islands' doctors and patients, perhaps via the internet, The Nikkei newspaper wrote.
"Japan also wants to hype the islets as a tourist destination. It sees private Japanese and Russian companies jointly offering cruises for Japanese tourists," the newspaper said. Experts would also be dispatched to preserve the ecosystem. "Fisheries are the islands' main industry, and Japan is expected to propose jointly operating processing factories for salmon and other catches. The two countries could also engage in joint farming of abalone and other valuable fish," The Nikkei wrote.
In December 2016, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on joint development economic initiatives on the islands. The two sides adopted a joint statement, which said that the beginning of consultations on joint economic activities on the South Kuril Islands would be an important step towards signing a peace treaty by the two neighbors. Also, the sides assume that the statement and any agreements reached on this background on establishing joint economic activities and the implementation of those activities itself will not hurt the positions of Russia and Japan regarding the peace treaty issue.
On March 18, officials of the two governments will meet in Tokyo to discuss proposals. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and his Japanese counterpart Takeo Akiba are expected to participate in the consultations.
Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. The settlement of the problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils - Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories.