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Sakhalin authorities ready to grant preferences to Japanese businessmen

Acting Governor of the region Valery Limarenko stressed that economic cooperation will trigger social and infrastructure development of the Kuril Islands and the region overall

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, January 23. /TASS/. Russia’s Sakhalin Region plans to expand its economic ties with Japan, particularly to consider the possibility of granting preferences to Japanese businessmen, Acting Governor of Russia’s Sakhalin Region Valery Limarenko told TASS on Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had a meeting in Moscow on Tuesday, which once again demonstrated the strive of the two countries’ leaders to establish and develop a mutually beneficial relationship.

"Expansion of economic ties with our neighbors - the countries of the Pacific Region, including Japan, is of great interest for the Sakhalin Region," Limarenko said, adding that the region "would try to create beneficial conditions for the Japanese business, particularly consider the possibility of granting preferences."

According to Acting Governor, economic cooperation will trigger social and infrastructure development of the Kuril Islands and the region overall.

On January 14, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono held the first in a series of meetings within a new mechanism aimed at resolving the peace treaty issue in Moscow. Lavrov noted that Russia’s sovereignty over the Southern Kuril Islands is non-negotiable. Japanese representatives stated that the work on the peace treaty issue between the countries is still underway. The next round of high-level talks is planned for February.

Putin and Abe made a decision to step up negotiations on a peace treaty in Singapore last November. The two sides agreed to use as the basis the joint Declaration of October 19, 1956, which terminated the state of war between the two countries and restored diplomatic and consular relations. In Article 9 of the Declaration the Soviet government agreed to hand over to Japan the Island of Shikotan and a number of small uninhabited islands of the Lesser Kuril Chain on the condition their actual transition to Tokyo would occur only after the conclusion of a peace treaty. The declaration was ratified by the parliaments of the two countries on December 8, 1956. However, a peace treaty has still not been reached. Moscow has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands cannot be called into question.

Over the past couple years the economic cooperation between Moscow and Tokyo has been based on a cooperation plan offered by Shinzo Abe at a 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.