TOKYO Nov 30 Japan's trade minister on
Wednesday dismissed concerns that boosting economic ties with
Russia as part of a push for progress on a decades-old
territorial row would mainly benefit Moscow, saying any business
deals would be "win-win" for both.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is betting his close ties
with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the lure of Japanese
investment in fields from medical technology to energy could
ease progress in the dispute over four islands seized by Russia
at the end of World War Two when the leaders meet in Japan next
The feud over the islands, called the Northern Territories
in Japan and the Southern Kuriles in Russia, has kept Tokyo and
Moscow from signing a peace treaty formally ending their
conflict and strengthening ties in the face of a rising China.
"This is not a matter of Japan giving money to Russia. These
are all projects that will provide business chances for Japanese
firms," Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko, now in charge of economic
cooperation with Russia, told Reuters. "These projects ... will
cultivate new growth areas for Japanese firms and in the sense
they will also be a plus for Russia, they will be win-win."
(Reporting by Amy Miyazaki and Linda Sieg; Editing by Nick