Cooperation between Japan and Russia can spur projects in the field of climate, agriculture and hydrogen energy, Ambassador Toyohisa Kozuki told RBC. Political cooperation will also develop, he is sure
Climate, hydrogen and agriculture
“ Measures to combat climate change are one of the new areas in which cooperation between Japan and Russia is expected in the future, '' & mdash; the Ambassador of Japan to Russia Toyohisa Kozuki told RBK. “ It is the production and transportation of hydrogen and ammonia that has great potential for Japanese-Russian cooperation, '' & mdash; he specified. According to the ambassador, in the Basic Energy Plan, Japan has set a task to supply up to 3 million tons of hydrogen in 2030 and consume 3 million tons of fuel ammonia per year. “ Based on this, the projects for the production and export of hydrogen and ammonia, considered in Russia, can be mutually beneficial for both countries, given such an advantage as the geographical proximity of Japan and Russia, '' & mdash; the ambassador believes. In Japan, he said, there are many companies that have carbon processing technologies that allow storing carbon dioxide in the ground, which is formed during the production of hydrogen and ammonia, and Russia is rich in natural resources for such production. Cooperation in this area has already begun: Japan and Russia have signed memorandums of cooperation in this area, and feasibility studies are already being developed for some projects.
Among the projects that have already begun to be developed, the ambassador named a project to create a concept for a hydrogen supply chain between Japan and Russia, since 2019 it has been led by the Japan Natural Resources and Energy Agency and Rosatom State Corporation. First, a cooperation agreement was concluded between them, then the development of a feasibility study began. A project for the production of methanol in the Amur Region was also initiated, in 2020 the Japanese Marubeni and the Russian group of companies ESN signed a binding contract for the supply of methanol produced from natural gas.
There is also potential for cooperation in the field of renewable energy, the ambassador said. A project has already been launched to test the implementation of an energy management system in the Arctic village of Tiksi (Sakha Republic) with an emphasis on the use of wind power in remote areas with extremely cold climates. The costs of this project were covered by the Japanese New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
Another promising area of Toyohisa Kozuki is cooperation in agriculture and animal husbandry. For Russia, he said, the importance of cooperation with geographically close countries is growing. “ Japan has a developed livestock industry, including the production of wagyu beef. But the level of self-sufficiency in feed is low, only 25%, so that our country depends on imports from abroad. The Far East is geographically close to Japan and is a very promising import destination ',' mdash; the ambassador explained. According to him, Mitsui in partnership with Rusagro increased the export of fodder corn from the Far East to Japan and now exports about 100 thousand tons per year.
Peace treaty, cooperation on the northern islands
Political relations between Japan and Russia will also develop, Ambassador Kozuki assured. The course of the Japanese government on the development of the entire complex of relations in a wide range of areas remains unchanged under the new administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, he said. The diplomat recalled that on October 7, shortly after taking office, Prime Minister Kishida had a telephone conversation with President Vladimir Putin. “ During the telephone conversations at the highest level on October 7, Prime Minister Kishida said that he intends to develop on a mutually beneficial basis the entire range of Japanese-Russian relations, including the issue of concluding a peace treaty. Regarding the problem of the northern territories, he also expressed his intention not to leave it to future generations and to thoroughly work it out together with President Putin, '' & mdash; the ambassador said.
Officials of the two countries continue to maintain a regular dialogue. Foreign Minister Hayashi, who took office on November 10, held a telephone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the 25th, the ambassador recalled. “ During these telephone conversations, the leaders of the two countries and both foreign ministers confirmed their intention to hold face-to-face meetings in the near future. The schedule for these meetings has not yet been determined & mdash; further political dialogue will be coordinated by the two countries, including taking into account the situation with the new coronavirus infection, '', & mdash; Ambassador Kozuki told RBC.
Due to the threat of the spread of a new strain of coronavirus 'omicron' Japan closed its borders to foreigners for a month on November 30. In total, 1.73 million cases of COVID-19 infection have been recorded in Japan since the beginning of the pandemic, 18.3 thousand people have died (according to Johns Hopkins University).
The special relationship between Japan and Russia, according to the ambassador, underlines the fact that Russia “ was one of the few states that Prime Minister Kishida mentioned in the context of the development of relations with individual countries, speaking in parliament immediately after taking office. '' “ It goes without saying that relations with Russia, our permanent important neighbor, are one of Japan's priorities. Since the beginning of the work of the new Kishida administration, exchanges of views on the mutually beneficial development of the entire complex of Japanese-Russian relations are already being held at various levels. We intend to continue this in the future, & raquo;, & mdash; said the ambassador.
“ With regard to joint economic activities on the four northern islands, this issue is consistently discussed at the working level. In particular, this year we held four expert consultations on waste management in the format of a video conference, as well as an expert consultation on tourism and a meeting of a working group at the level of the heads of the department on the legal aspects of joint economic activities. We will continue negotiations with the Russian side on the implementation of specific individual projects & raquo;, & mdash; said the diplomat.
The idea of joint activities in the Kuril Islands, over which Japan disputes sovereignty, was proposed by the Russian side in 2016, under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, when cooperation between the two countries was actively developing. Abe set one of his main foreign policy goals to conclude a peace treaty with Russia and resolve the island problem.
Growth of trade in a pandemic
“ Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, trade between Japan and Russia in January – October 2021 grew by 21.1% over the same period last year, which we assess as an upward trend in trade. This indicates that the Japanese side attaches great importance to economic cooperation between Japan and Russia, regardless of the transfer of power to the new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida '' & mdash; the ambassador said.
According to the Russian side, in the first nine months of 2021, trade between Russia and Japan amounted to $ 14.127 billion, an increase of 18.18% compared to the same period in 2020.
By According to the Japanese Embassy, in value terms, there was an increase in exports from Russia to Japan of fish and shellfish, liquefied natural gas, coal and non-ferrous metals. Exports of engines, construction and mining equipment, cars and auto parts from Japan to Russia increased in value terms.
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