Ahead of gas pipeline plans, Japanese minister tasks Russia on Russia

Ahead of gas pipeline plans, Japanese minister tasks Russia on Russia

Monday, August 7, 2017 10:31 am

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Japan and Russia need to work on building a

more trusting relationship before

any plans to build a natural gas

pipeline between the two nations

can be fulfilled, Japan’s Minister for

Economy, Trade and Industry,

Hiroshige Seko said on Monday.

Building a pipeline linking Russia

and Japan is a long-standing idea,

but a dispute over islands seized by

Russia near the northern Japanese

island of Hokkaido at the end of the

World War Two has kept relations

testy at times.

Japanese gas and electric utilities

that have invested heavily in import

terminals for liquefied natural gas

(LNG) may also be reluctant to

invest in a pipeline.

“Without a sense of further sense of

trust such as a peace treaty, a

pipeline would be no good,” Seko

said during a speech in Tokyo while

answering a question about Japan’s

energy relationship with Russia.

Japan imports nearly all of its

energy sources and is the world’s

biggest buyer of LNG, which is

natural gas cooled until it becomes a

liquid and then transported on


Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

said in April that Japan wanted to

resolve a territorial row that has

over-shadowed ties with Russia

since World War Two.

Russia and Japan did not sign a

formal peace treaty at the end of the

war because of a dispute over the

northern islands, called the

Northern Territories in Japan and

the Southern Kuriles in Russia.

The islands were seized by Soviet

forces at the end of the war and

17,000 Japanese residents were

forced to flee.

Despite the lingering dispute, Seko

said that Japan imports around 10

percent of its LNG from Russia and

the country could increase its

reliance on Russia’s LNG a li

ttle bit more.


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