On Thursday evening Russian Vice-Premier Viktor Khristenko leaves for a working visit to Japan. On December 1, Tokyo will host the 5th session of the Russian-Japanese intergovernmental commission on trade-economic and scientific-technical cooperation. The Russian Vice-Premier is a co-chairman of the commission. The key issues on the agenda of the coming session will be prospects for the development of bilateral trade-economic relations. In particular, at issue will be cooperation in the field of power engineering, including atomic power, and joint development of oil and gas deposits. Apart from that, issues of cooperation in the sphere of transport and the use of marine biological resources will be raised. In addition, the commission's session will consider the support by the Japanese government of Russian reforms. With Japan as a sponsor, Russia is implementing a number of projects, and participants in the coming session will also discuss the progress of these projects. In the course of his Japanese visit Khristenko also intends to discuss a package of documents being prepared for a visit by Russian Premier Mikhail Kasyanov to Tokyo in the first six months of 2002. Khristenko's Tokyo programme includes meetings with the Japanese Premier and parliamentarians.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated