Putin and Abe Sign Impressive Array of Agreements, Auguring New Era of Cooperation
Dec. 16, 2016 (EIRNS)—The two-day landmark visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan and his talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, resulted in the signing of many economic cooperation agreements.
Particularly important were Putin’s remarks at the plenary session of the Russia-Japan Business dialogue, in which he proposed that talks begin on Japan forming a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which includes Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
According to Jiji Press today, Japanese economic cooperation with Russia under the eight-point program presented last May by Prime Minister Abe, totals some 300 billion yen (about $2.5 billion), covering more than 60 projects. Cooperation agreements signed, span such areas as infrastructure, including ports and rail; agriculture; nuclear energy; pharmaceuticals; education, and culture.
Russian-Japanese investment fund created
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) have agreed to set up a $1 billion joint investment fund. RDIF CEO Kirill Dmietriev explained that the fund will play a key role in financing joint Russian-Japanese investment projects, with a target goal of financing as many as 20 projects in the first six months of 2017. RDIF will hold a 49% stake in the fund and JBIC 51%, and the volume of investment will be proportionate to stakes.
Ports and Rail
Of great interest is the project linking Russia and Japan by railroad, RZD Vice President Vyachesalv Pavlovsky said, adding that the estimated cost of building a railroad between the continent and Sakhalin will be around 400 billion rubles (about $644 million). He said that the second stage will link Sakhalin and Hokkaido, and that "complicated and difficult work will have to be carried out to update the feasibility study. Japan is also interested in investing in several Russian ports, he said, mentioning the port of Novorossyisk as one possibility.
Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation has signed an agreement for the peaceful use of nuclear energy with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, in the presence of President Putin and Prime Minister Abe. There is a civilian nuclear agreement as well, by which both sides agree to "further develop" their cooperation on the supply of russia’s enriched uranium to Japan. Russia’s natural gas producer Novatek signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mitsubishi and Mitsui for cooperating in liquefied natural gas.