Japan team wraps up survey on joint projects with Russia on disputed isles


A public-private research team on Japan-Russia joint economic activities on disputed northwestern Pacific islands returned to Nemuro, Hokkaido, on Friday after completing its on-site survey.

“We have finished discussing the planned activities in all five areas (prioritized in the bilateral project),” Eiichi Hasegawa, special adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, told reporters at a port in the northern city.

“Details of the activities will be worked out through governmental negotiations from now on,” Hasegawa said.

The five priority areas are aquaculture, greenhouse vegetable cultivation, tourism, wind power generation and garbage reduction.

In September, Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin drew up a road map for the joint initiative, including plans for sea urchin farming, greenhouse strawberry cultivation and tourism promotion.

Departing from the port on Tuesday, the survey team visited Etorofu and Kunashiri, the largest and the second largest of the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido.

On their third on-site inspection trip, members of the team exchanged opinions with local business operators and visited prospective sites in line with the road map.

The Japanese and Russian governments will continue subcabinet and working-level talks so that Abe and Putin can clinch a deal at a meeting expected to be held sometime in November or December, sources said.