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RUSSIA'S MINISTER TO DISCUSS NEW PIPELINE PROJECT IN JAPAN

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MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - Viktor Khristenko, Russian Minister of Industries and Energy, is expected to discuss the Siberia-Pacific oil pipeline project with Japanese government officials and corporate executives during his two-day visit to Japan, beginning tomorrow. He is scheduled to meet, among others, with his Japanese opposite number, Soichi Nakagawa, the ministry's press office has told RIA.

The central event of Khristenko's visit will be the 7th session of the Russo-Japanese intergovernmental commission for trade and economic affairs, which the minister co-chairs.

The Siberia-Pacific pipeline project will, indeed, be a prominent issue on the session's agenda, but not the only one, Khristenko said to reporters ahead of his Far Eastern trip. He pointed out that trade turnover between the two countries had grown dramatically in recent years, exceeding all expectations. According to his statistics, bilateral trade reached a record-high 8,849,400,000 dollars in 2004, marking a 48.4 percent increase on the previous year. Russian imports amounted to $5,694,600,000 while exports, to $3,154,800,000.

Whilst in Japan, Khristenko is also expected to meet with top management of the corporations Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor and to visit their head offices. Speaking of those meetings, the minister said several joint projects in the automotive industry would be discussed.

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