TOKYO, Nov 30 (Reuters) - 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 month.
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 Macfie)