TOKYO – Japan and Russia are stepping up cooperation as Russian President Vladimir Putin pursues opportunities in fast growing Asian markets for his country's vast Far East. Many of the dozens of deals finalized during his visit to Japan this week involve the energy sector, and most are projects linked to some of both countries' largest corporations.
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Here are details of some expanding areas of Japanese-Russian cooperation:
The Japanese government and Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corp. agreed on cooperation in helping with the clean-up at from the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant, including radioactive waste management and possible decommissioning. The two sides already have been discussing working together on uranium exploration and mining; design, construction and operation of light water reactors; waste processing and management; nuclear safety including radiation protection and environmental control; research and application of radioisotopes and radiation; other areas based on additional written agreements between the parties, Rosatom says.
OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION
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Russia enjoys a trade surplus with Japan thanks to exports of oil and natural gas. In addition to oil and natural gas projects already underway in Sakhalin and Eastern Siberia, the two countries agreed on cooperation in exploration and development and on expanding joint work on wind and coal co-generation projects. Rosneft said a consortium of Japanese companies including Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. has agreed to jointly pursue exploration, development and production of oil and gas in the Sea of Japan off Russia's coast. The Kyodo News Service reported major Japanese trading houses also plan to invest in a $40 billion natural gas field project on the Gydan Peninsula near the Arctic Ocean, working with Russia's Novatek.
Russia's Rosneft and Japan's Marubeni Corporation and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. agreed to study the feasibility of building a gas chemical facility in Russia's Far East that would be built using advanced Japanese technologies and supported by Japanese financing.
Japan's Toshiba Corp. plans to work with Russia in installing sorting equipment to be used by the Russian Post as it automates centers handling parcels.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund and Japan Bank for International Cooperation agreed to set up a Russia-Japan Investment Fund to identify projects that would promote economic, trade and investment cooperation. Each side agreed to invest $500 million in the fund, which is intended to operate independently in joint projects to be launched beginning next year.
The two governments agreed to consider ways to cooperate in jointly developing islands claimed by both countries in a territorial dispute left over from World War II that is preventing the two sides from signing a peace treaty. Possibilities include modernizing the fisheries industry and expanding tourism in the region, north of Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido. But the dispute itself is an obstacle, and it's unclear if the two sides can find a way to finesse a disagreement over what laws would prevail in such projects, which would be on islands long controlled by Russia.