23 Nov 2017 19:54

Tokyo, Moscow to prepare 5 joint business projects for Kurils by next spring - Japanese Foreign Minister

MOSCOW. Nov 23 (Interfax) - Japan and Russia intend to work out five projects of joint business activity in the southern Kuril Islands by the spring of 2018, with due regard for both sides' legal positions, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said in an interview with Interfax.

This issue will be discussed at his meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday, the minister said. "During my current visit to Russia I would also like to hold a deepened discussion with Minister Lavrov aimed at carrying out joint business activity," Kono said.

He recalled that five such possible projects have been determined for the southern range of the Kuril Islands.

"We are now considering the question of concretization of these projects in a format that is not damaging the sides' legal positions," Kono said.

"At the Japanese-Russian top-level meeting on the sidelines of the APEC [Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation] summit in Vietnam on November 10 our countries' leaders agreed to speed up the consideration of the issue of the projects' concretization by next spring," the Japanese minister said.

"I am certain that Japan and Russia jointly working on the future image of the four islands by way of such measures will deepen their mutual understanding and confidence, which will be a big plus for conclusion of a peace treaty," Kono said.