Russo-Japanese Talks May Consider Russian Oil Supplies to Japan

The launched visit of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to Moscow will possibly highlight the issues of Russian oil supplies to Japan to the volume of up to 1 mln barrels per day, sources in Russia's Power Ministry told RIA Novosti.

The sources confirmed that in late 2002 the Russian government had received a message from Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, which put forward the decision of the Japanese side to import Russian oil.

On Thursday, the Japanese news agency Kyodo Tsusin said with reference to informed sources that Japan was ready to purchase up to 1mln barrels of oil daily.

According to the agency, the decision to import Russian oil was formulated in Japanese Foreign Minister Yokiro Kawaguchi's message to the Russian government sent in late 2002.

Thus, Japan intends to purchase about one fourth of Russia's entire imported oil.

Japan also offers assistance in laying down a pipeline from Siberia to the Far East, the agency reports.

Secretary General of the Japanese Cabinet Yasuo Fukuda said in December that the joint construction of the oil pipeline would become a major area of Russo-Japanese economic co-operation. According to him, the details of the project are still being specified.

According to the Nihon Keizai newspaper, the Japanese government will participate in the project in the hope to receive concessions as regards Siberian oil resources. The newspaper has information that the oil pipeline will link the Angara oil deposit near Lake Baikal with Russia's Far East.

Japan will allot several billion dollars for the construction of the pipeline in investment programmes and credits, the Nihon Keizai reports.

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