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07:26 GMT +3 hours20 December 2014
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Russia, Japan Bolster Ties

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Russia and Japan signed a string of bilateral agreements on Saturday, including a ban on crab poaching in the Sea of Okhotsk and a deal to construct a timber processing factory in Siberia.

Russia and Japan signed a string of bilateral agreements on Saturday, including a ban on crab poaching in the Sea of Okhotsk and a deal to construct a timber processing factory in Siberia.

The accords were signed on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Russia's Pacific port of Vladivostok in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda.

Trade turnover between the two countries amounted to $29.7 billion last year.

Russia-Japan relations have been clouded by a long-running territorial dispute over the Kuril islands in the north Pacific.

The row over the islands - which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories - has stopped Tokyo and Moscow from signing a peace treaty since the end of World War II.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid a visit to one of the islands in July, in a move that was described by Japan as "extremely regrettable" and that added further strain to the already tense bilateral relationship.