Ahead of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Moscow trip, media reports say Japan and Russia are developing 20 joint projects in several sectors, including energy and medicine.
Under a new deal, Japan’s Mitsui will buy 10-20 per cent of shares of Russian pharmaceutical company R-Pharm. The Japanese firm plans to supply Japanese drugs to Russia and expand cooperation in the production field, according to a report in Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper.
Abe will hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on April 27-28.
The two sides are also expected to announce the participation of Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) in the joint development of oil and gas fields in Russia’s Irkutsk during Abe’s visit.
Japanese Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko and Russian Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka agreed in November to jointly work on projects in Russia’s far eastern regions.
Tokyo is hoping that its joint projects and closer economic cooperation with Moscow will ease discussion on territorial disputes the two countries have had since the end of World War II.
A dispute over four islands in the East China Sea has kept Japan and Russia from signing a peace treaty and formally ending their conflict in World War II.
Earlier in February, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov defended Russia’s naming of the disputed islands.
Japan filed a formal note of protest with Russia after Moscow decided to name the Kuril islands, seized by Soviet troops in the waning days of World War II, after prominent historical figures.
The 71-year territorial dispute stemming from the final days of World War II had figured prominently between Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their previous meetings, but the Kremlin has warned that the issue “cannot be resolved in one go”.
The four disputed islands – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai – were occupied by Soviet forces at the end of the war and are today home to thousands of Russian civilians.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Japan late last year but the two countries did not resolve the issue.