Lenenergo general director Andrei Likhachev is due to return from a visit to Japan today. He arrived in Japan on February 16. According to the electricity company's press office, Likhachev yesterday held talks with the mayor of Osaka and also visited some of the city's utility companies. The talks were about a potential exchange between St. Petersburg and Osaka. Likhachev also met representatives of the Tokyo Mitsubishi bank to discuss the bank's participation in a loan for the St. Petersburg company.
According to Likhachev, representatives of Japanese administrative and industrial circles are following events in St. Petersburg. He said that he was asked repeatedly about the possibility of a review of the results of privatization programmes. The same question was discussed at a meeting between Likhachev, House of Representatives member Toshitsugu Saito, and the director of the Japanese State Department for Natural Resources and Energy. Likhachev told them that 'if it was really a legal and economic matter, and not a political one, then he would have had to turn down the Foreign Ministry's invitation and defend the company's interests. But, as far as he is aware, the administration had taken this step too hastily.'
In a telephone interview with Rosbalt's correspondent, Lenenergo's general director said that he did not consider it right to 'air your dirty laundry in public, and had never criticised the city governor when abroad.' 'In my opinion,' he stressed, 'this does not help the city, and we should be thinking about how to show the whole world that St. Petersburg is a city with a special history and significance in international politics, especially in the run up to the 300th anniversary.