Japan satisfied with results of business mission trip to Kuril Islands
Japanese business is satisfied with the results of the recent business mission to the southern Kuril Islands, Eiichi Hasegawa, head of the Japanese delegation and adviser to the Prime Minister of Japan said on Friday, according to the national NHK TV channel.
"The representatives of businesses were able to get deeper understanding [of the situation] and they are satisfied [with the trip]. In the future, the discussion [of the issues] will continue at the government level, and we view the prospects of it positively," he said as quoted by the TV channel.
On October 2, a group of representatives of Japanese businesses, the central and local governments arrived on the southern Kuril Islands to specify possible joint projects with Russia in those territories. On Tuesday, the delegation visited the island of Kunashir, on Wednesday they inspected the facilities of Iturup and on Thursday they visited Shikotan. The mission comprises 61 people, including interpreters and other supporting staff.
Moscow and Tokyo have been holding consultations on joint economic activities on the islands in five areas: aquaculture, greenhouse farms, tourism, wind power and recycling. The parties consider establishment of cooperation in these areas as an important step towards the conclusion of a peace treaty. However, Moscow and Tokyo still differ on how to implement these joint projects. Russia suggests that this should be done within the framework of its legislation, while Japan proposes creating a special legal system in the south of the Kuril Islands.
Russia and Japan have been in talks to sign a peace treaty since the mid-20th century. The main stumbling block to achieving this is the ownership of the southern Kuril Islands. After the end of World War II, the Kuril Islands were incorporated into the Soviet Union. However, the ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan Islands and the Habomai Islands is being challenged by Japan. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has stated on numerous occasions that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands is beyond any doubt. In 1956, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a joint declaration on ending the state of war, but no peace treaty has been signed to date.
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