Japan’s Economy Minister Meets Russian Counterpart

Japan's Economy Minister Meets Russian Counterpart

Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said at his meeting with Russian Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin that he confirms Tokyo’s commitment to the Russia-Japan 8-point cooperation plan ahead of the summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“I would like to confirm today the latest progress on the [Russia-Japan] eight-point cooperation plan ahead of the planned summit between our countries at the end of this month”, Seko said.

The eight-point cooperation plan with a focus on economic projects was proposed by Abe in 2016. The plan aims to promote bilateral cooperation through successfully combining Russia’s economic and social needs with Japan’s expertise.

Oreshkin stressed at the meeting that the plan had already produced concrete results in 2018.

“As for the Russian-Japanese relations, the eight-point cooperation plan, proposed by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2016, showed concrete results by 2018. Trade between the two countries increased by 17 percent in 2018. Projects in various areas — from improving the urban environment, health care, to major investment projects — have been implemented. The summit [of Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin] will be held at the end of the month, so it is very important now to compare notes”, Oreshkin said.

The dispute over a group of four Kuril islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai has soured Moscow-Tokyo relations for decades and serves as the main stumbling block to signing a permanent World War II peace treaty. Russia has sovereignty over these islands, but Japan also has claims to them.

In January, Russia and Japan launched full-scale talks aimed at signing a peace agreement. The negotiations will be held at the highest level, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe slated to meet in late June during the G20 summit in Japan’s Osaka.

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