Japan Seeks Arctic Shipping, Agricultural Partnerships in Russia’s Far East

Japan has offered to cooperate on Arctic shipments and agricultural imports from the sparsely populated Russian Far East, the state-run news agency RIA Novosti reported Monday.

The “new concept of cooperation” comes amid Tokyo’s years-long efforts to return a disputed Pacific island chain that Moscow has held since the end of World War II.

According to RIA Novosti, Japan’s Ambassador in Moscow Toyohisa Kozuki sent the proposal to Russian Far East and Arctic Minister Alexei Chekunov detailing several areas of cooperation.

Among them is taking an “active part in the development” of Russia’s highly touted Northern Sea Route (NSR) project that cuts shipment routes and is becoming available year-long due to rapid thawing in the Arctic region.

“Ambassador Kozuki pointed out that the NSR logistic was 40% more effective than the traditional sea routes,” RIA Novosti’s Arctic.ru project reported.

“Japanese companies already transport LNG via this route,” it added.