Moscow has refused to hold talks with Tokyo on Japanese fishing operations in waters near disputed northwestern Pacific islands, fisheries minister Tetsuro Nomura said Monday.
Moscow notified Tokyo on Thursday that it cannot currently arrange a schedule for the talks on Japanese fishing operations for Alaska pollock, octopuses, Okhotsk Atka mackerel and other seafood, according to Nomura.
Japanese fishing operations are already being affected, as the fishing season for Alaska pollock usually runs from early January to mid-March.
Based on a bilateral agreement that came into effect in 1998, the two countries discuss Japanese fishing operations around the Russian-held islands claimed by Tokyo.
In June last year, however, Moscow unilaterally announced a suspension of the agreement in an apparent retaliation for Japanese sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
"We'll make efforts in tandem with the Foreign Ministry to hold the negotiations as soon as possible," Nomura said.
According to the Fisheries Agency, the amount of Alaska pollock caught in waters around the disputed islands accounts for less than 1% of Japan's total catch of the fish.
Japan and Russia usually hold talks by year-end to confirm the effectiveness of the agreement and decide next year's fishing season, permitted catches by Japanese fishers and so-called cooperation money paid to Russia.