Japan is planning to ask Russia to conduct a joint study of the Kuril Islands during upcoming intergovernmental talks on the issue in order to come up with joint economic projects in the disputed territories, the NHK broadcaster said Wednesday, citing Japanese Foreign Ministry sources.
TOKYO (Sputnik) — Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and his Japanese counterpart Takeo Akiba are expected to meet for consultations in the Japanese capital on March 18. This will be the first round of talks on the issue since the two countries' leaders agreed on economic cooperation last year.
The Japanese side is nurturing plans on cooperation in healthcare, fishing, tourism and the environment on the islands.
In February, Japanese media reported that the government had plans to offer remote-access medical help and advice to both residents and medical staff living in the south of the archipelago. In the tourism sector, Japan wants Russian and Japanese companies to organize sea cruises to the islands for Japanese tourists. Russia and Japan could also set up joint fish and shellfish processing plants as well as getting both sides' environmentalists to cooperate on various issues, according to the publication.
Russia and Japan are taking a step forward in resolving the Kuril Islands standoff after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held the second rounds of talks on the issue in late 2016. The two leaders agreed to create a special regime on the islands leading to the establishment joint economic projects. Putin and Abe also dealt with the long-standing issue of the technical state of war between the two countries which has remained unresolved since World War II.
Moscow and Tokyo never signed a permanent peace treaty after the World War II due to a disagreement over the group of islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan the Northern Territories, encompassing Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.
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