"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Initiative for the Strengthening Japan-Russia cooperation in the Far East Russia and Eastern Siberia

[Date] June 7, 2007
[Source] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan
[Full text]

Asia-Pacific Region has been experiencing dynamic evolution and development that we cannot see in any other region, enhancing mutually beneficial interdependence and cooperation inside the region. Strategic stability and sustainable development of the region are primarily important for the future of all the countries in the region including Japan. However Russia's relationship with the Asia-Pacific Region -- Russia should be an important part of it -- is not strong enough in all the areas of cooperation, although Japan and Russia have developed cooperation in the energy sector to find the full-fledged export of crude oil from Sakhalin started last October.

Under these circumstances Russia considers social and economic development of Far East Russia and East Siberia as a component of her integration process to the whole Asia-Pacific Region. Once Far East Russia and East Siberia, further keeping its stability, succeed in fulfilling its economic potential and achieving social and economic development, cooperating and collaborating with neighboring countries to thereby strengthen its ties with the Asia-Pacific Region in a transparent manner, it is expected that Russia will play a constructive role in the strategic stability and sustainable and mutually beneficial development in the Asia-Pacific Region.

With this perspective, Japan proposes to consider promotion of mutually beneficial cooperation between Japan and Russia in both the private and public sectors.

1. Energy

We would promote cooperation between the private commercial entities of Japan and Russia in Far East Russia and East Siberia by utilizing Japan's advanced technologies, for example, in the areas of oil, natural gas, and the peaceful use of atomic energy, and Russia's business base in a complementary way to secure stable energy supply for mid- and long-term energy security for the Asia-Pacific countries and development of Far East Russia and East Siberia.

2. Transportation

Facilitation of economic and human exchanges through development of transportation and logistics networks is indispensable. Especially Asia-Pacific countries' securing a logistics route through the Trans-Siberian Railways is a strategic interest not only for Asia-pacific countries themselves but also for Russia. The way how to cooperate in these areas will be considered by those concerned.

3. Information and Communication

Far East Russia and Eastern Siberia could be an important nexus in the Asia-Pacific Region in the information terms. For example, it would bring a strategic benefit both for Russia and for Asia-Pacific countries to connect East Asia and Europe by the optical fiber networks via Far East Russia and Eastern Siberia. It is necessary to stimulate cooperation among businesses of information communication technology of both countries, bearing in mind possibility to utilize Japan's information communication technologies of the highest level in the world, such as broadband and cell phones.

4. Environment

It is necessary to pay an enough attention to the environmental protection measures for sustainable development of the Asia-Pacific Region. With this perspective, we would consider possibility to take measures for reduction of greenhouse gasses, such as preservation of forest resources; rehabilitation of existing electric power plants; Joint Implementation projects based on the Kyoto Protocol and so on, and possibility of cooperation for protection of environment of the Sea of Okhotsk and its surrounding area where exists abundant and diverse ecosystems, including environmental monitoring; prevention of oil pollution and spillage; and dismantlement of nuclear submarines.

5. Security

Vulnerability of Far East Russia and East Siberia in terms of security and protection of law and order could be a factor of instability in the North East Asia. It is important to overcome this vulnerability early in coordination with countries concerned. From this perspective, we would promote Japan-Russia cooperation in the areas of smuggling of drugs and firearms, crime prevention such as bans on poaching, international counterterrorism, measures against unidentified boats, search-and-rescue etc.; defense exchanges between the two countries which contribute to reinforcement of peace and security in the Asia-Pacific Region; and dismantlement of atomic submarines and Japan-Russia cooperation in the disarmament and nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction including atomic weapons and missiles.

6. Health and Medicine

We would consider possibility of introducing the most advanced medical technologies etc. for the betterment of the medical situation in Far East Russia and East Siberia where the medical facilities and procedures are relatively less advanced and the infant mortality rate is high.

7. Promotion of Trade and Investment and Improvement of Trade and Investment Environment

We would expand our trade and investment based on the Action Program for the Expansion of Japan-Russia Cooperation on Trade and Investment. We would monitor Russia's further steps, hoping that Russia will take necessary measures to improve trade and investment climate in Russia, including the improvement of industry and transportation infrastructure, finance and settlement system, simple and transparent tax administration, more simple and transparent custom procedures, the judicial system, and protection of intellectual property rights. Japan-Russia Organization for Promotion of Trade and Investment can play a certain role.

8. Promotion of Exchanges between Regions of Japan and Russia

We would promote cooperation between local governments and nation-to-nation exchanges including in the area of tourism. G8 Summit in 2008, which will be held on the shore of the lake Toyako in Hokkaido, is a good opportunity to deepen exchanges between Far East Russia and East Siberia, and Hokkaido. Especially, we would consider launching around the time of G8 Hokkaido-Toyako Summit a new initiative to drastically enhance youth exhanges between Japan and Russia in which we would put an emphasis on the enhancement of exchanges with Far East Russia and East Siberia.