Russian deputy PM talks of disputed islets with Japan

Yury Trutnev
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

MOSCOW - Yury Trutnev, Russia's deputy prime minister, on Tuesday detailed the country's plan -- expected to be finalized by the end of the year -- to create a special economic zone on the Kuril Islands, some of which are subject to a territorial dispute with Japan.

During an Interview with The Nikkei, Trutnev also indicated that he is open to President Vladimir Putin visiting Japan, which bureaucrats from the two countries are discussing. Japan would like the visit to take place by the end of the year.

Trutnev, one of Putin's closest aides, is also the presidential plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District. This means he is responsible for Russia's Far East, including the four southern Kuril Islands, which Japan refers to as its Northern Territories.

It was the first independent interview that Trutnev has given to a Japanese news outlet since he was appointed in 2013 to deputy prime minister and presidential plenipotentiary envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District.

Trutnev said Moscow intends to establish a basic plan on the special economic zone based on ideas suggested by the government of Sakhalin State, to which the Kuril Islands belong. Construction of necessary infrastructure will begin by the end of the year, he said. The plan is expected to promote the islands' fishery and tourism industries.

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