16:34 GMT14 August 2020
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    Japanese officials and business people came ashore Friday in a Russian port on the southernmost Kuril island of Kunashir, a source familiar with the matter has told Sputnik.

    YUZHNO-KURILSK (Sputnik) — The source said the business mission, Etopirika, docked at Yuzhno-Kurilsk on Thursday and the delegation, led by the Japanese prime minister’s special adviser EiichiHasegawa, disembarked at 2:30 a.m. local time.

    The week-long trip aims at discussing finer details of five Russian-Japanese economic projects, the Russian embassy in Japan said earlier. They deal with growing seafood, greenhouse vegetables, organizing package tours, building wind turbines and recycling waste.

    The first mission took place over six days in June and July. A group of 69 Japanese delegates from private business and state institutions were shown around the archipelago to give them a clue about the territory and its infrastructure.

    The Southern Kuril Islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, are at the heart of a territorial row between Russia and Japan. Tokyo lays claim to Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and the Habomai group of islets. The territorial dispute has prevented the countries from signing a post-war peace treaty.

    The governments look a step forward in resolving the standoff after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks on the issue in 2016, agreeing to run joint economic projects.

    Joint economic activity on the islands was first discussed last December. In February, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at the inaugural panel meeting of the interdepartmental council on joint economic activities with Russia that the areas of economic cooperation would include fishing, tourism, health care and ecology.


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