"We note with satisfaction that, fulfilling our leaders’ agreements, a group of Japanese businessmen visited the Sakhalin region and this trip was rather successful. The Japanese businessmen left [South Kurils] in good spirits and we hope that specific plans on developing joint enterprises will be its [trip’s] specific results," Shuvalov said.
The Russian-Japanese relations have long been complicated by the fact that the two nations have never signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of the World War II. The deal was not reached due to a disagreement over a group of four islands claimed by both countries: Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.
In May 2016, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe presented an eight-point bilateral economic plan during his visit to Russian resort city of Sochi, where he met with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The plan covers such areas as oil and gas development, and the modernization of ports and airports in the Russian Far East.
On December 15-16, Putin paid a two-day working visit to Japan. During the visit to Nagato, Abe's home town, with two leaders having discussed joint economic activity on the South Kuril Islands.