Japanese companies are interested in investing in the disputed Kuril Islands, and a third delegation of Japan-based firms will visit them soon, according Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
“We agreed to hold the third Japanese-Russian business mission to the South Kuril Islands by the end of this year, after which the fourth round of negotiations on joint activities will take place,” Putin said on Monday in Vladivostok.
Abe is in Vladivostok to attend Russia’s annual Eastern Economic Forum. It is the biggest international platform for discussing strategies for developing political, economic and cultural ties between Russia and Asia Pacific.
According to the Japanese Prime Minister, Moscow and Tokyo are interested in various projects on the Kuril Islands. “We have outlined five projects. At today’s meeting we approved a road map for the implementation of our projects. They include fisheries, seafood, tourism, wind and light electricity, garbage processing,” Abe said.
“We will organize a business mission in early October. This will be a very big step forward in the implementation of projects,” he added.
The Kuril Islands stretch between the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido and Russia’s Kamchatka. The entire Kuril Island chain is administered by Russia, which received them after WWII under the 1945 Potsdam Declaration.
Japan claims sovereignty over the two southernmost large islands of Iturup and Kunashir, as well as the Shikotan and Habomai islets, citing their history as Japan’s northern territories. Russia and Japan did not sign a peace treaty after WWII over the issue.
Before the meeting between Putin and Abe, the countries signed several business contracts. Among them, Russia’s gas producer Novatek and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) signed a framework agreement.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and Russia’s AEON Corporation have agreed to develop an industrial facility in the Russian city of Volgograd, according to the RDIF. The total investment is estimated at over $800 million with construction due to start in 2020.