The development of relations with Japan is one of the priorities of Russia's foreign policy. This was announced yesterday at the press office of the Russian Foreign Ministry by Alexander Yakovenko, an official representative of the foreign policy department. In his opinion, Moscow sees the development of political and economic ties with Japan as 'a highly significant factor in providing stability and security to the Asia-Pacific region and in the world as a whole.'
Mr Yakovenko said that several significant and positive steps have been taken in recent years in terms of Russia's relations with Japan, the basis for which has been the realisation of democratic and market reform in Russia and Japan's consistent support for this development as well as Tokyo's aspiration for a more independent and enterprising role in world affairs. Mr Yakovenko emphasised that 'there are a lot more issues where Russian and Japanese policies coincide or are at least very close than there are unsolved problems and disagreements. This gives us a constructive basis for renewing talks on a Russian-Japanese peace treaty,' he added.
Talking about trade between the two countries, Mr Yakovenko mentioned that in 2002 commodity turnover between the two countries totaled about USD 2 billion. The main goods exported by Russia to Japan were seafood, aluminium, timber, coal, nickel and fuel. A programme for cooperation in the energy sphere, which was initiated by Russia at a high-level meeting in Irkutsk in March 2001, is currently being put together.