TRADE TURNOVER BETWEEN RUSSIA AND JAPAN GROWS 50% IN 2004

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MOSCOW, November 3 (RIA Novosti) - The volume of trade turnover between Russia and Japan will grow by 50% by the end of 2004, announced chairman of the RF Audit Chamber, president of the Russian-Japanese Business Council Sergei Stepashin speaking at the council's meeting in Moscow.

"There are clearly positive tendencies in the development of Russian-Japanese relations. The growth of trade turnover in 2003 was 40%, and in 2004 it will reach a 50% mark," Mr. Stepashin said.

At the same time, he stressed, the situation in the investment sphere is not as positive. According to Mr. Stepashin, Japan occupies the eighth place in terms of accumulated investments in the Russian economy, trailing behind the Netherlands and Cyprus.

"I hope we can change the current situation by applying joint efforts," he underlined.

Mr. Stepashin also emphasized that recently Russia have become much more transparent in the sphere of business and state authority, which points out at the political and economic stability in the country.

According to the chairman of the RF Audit Chamber, Russia is interested in mutual cooperation with Japan in the sphere of advanced technologies, communications, energy and production integration.

"The Russian-Japanese Business Council is ready to assist in solving any problems in the sphere of mutual cooperation," underlined Mr. Stepashin.

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