Dmitry Mezentsev: Russia and Japan obviously have positive potential to advance cooperation

The senator took part in the international conference Russia and Japan: Mutually Beneficial Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Chair of the Federation Council Committee on Economic Policy, representative of the executive authority of the Sakhalin Region, and member of the Russian Council on International Affairs Dmitry Mezentsev took part in the international conference Russia and Japan: Mutually Beneficial Cooperation in the Asia-Pacific Region.

The event was organised by the Russian Council on International Affairs in cooperation with the Japan Institute of International Affairs.

The conference was timed to coincide with the Cross Year of Russia and Japan in 2018–2019 declared by the governments of the two countries. The conference participants discussed the role of Russian-Japanese relations in the development of the Asia-Pacific Region and positions of Moscow and Tokyo on regional security.

The conference was attended by about 100 experts from Russia and Japan including government officials, representatives of leading academic institutions and experts on international relations, politics and economics.

The two countries’ economic and humanitarian cooperation was an important theme of the conference.

In his speech, Dmitry Mezentsev noted that Russia and Japan had enormous untapped potential to expand bilateral trade, increase mutual investment, seek out new growth points and cooperation spheres, especially in the context of cutting-edge information and “green” technologies, and develop Russian-Japanese cultural ties and youth exchanges.

“The current dialogue is about supporting the plans outlined by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe as part of the cross year and the 25 meetings they have had, which are an obvious success and result of bilateral relations,” Dmitry Mezentsev said.

Remarking on the level of bilateral relations, the senator focused on the substantive and wide-ranging talks Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko had during her visit to Japan: above all, her meetings with the Japanese prime minister, the president of the House of Councillors and the head of the lower chamber of parliament.

Dmitry Mezentsev also noted Japanese businesses’ contribution to the development of the Sakhalin Region and the entire Russian Far East.

Speaking about the 20-year partnership between the Sakhalin Region and Hokkaido, the senator emphasised that last autumn large-scale cooperation had been confirmed with a new five-year plan. “Last March we signed a plan to expand our system of relations, including in the Sakhalin Region. And it was also very important, because this plan was signed during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016.”

According to the senator, after this document was examined by the Sakhalin Region’s government, three large areas of focus were identified to expand the scale of the region’s gasification with Japan’s support. “People in the region will feel it very soon. This will correspond with Japan’s contribution to the agenda of our region. The Sakhalin Region shows the special things happening in our relations, but we can also see that the consistent, clear and probably justified references to the need to sign a peace treaty cannot erect obstacles to the large amount of work Russia expects from its Japanese partners.”

President of the Russian Council on International Affairs, former Russian Foreign Minister (1998–2004) Igor Ivanov, Japan’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Russia Toehisa Kozuki, President and General Director of the Japan Institute of International Affairs Kenichiro Sasae, Chairman of the Japan-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Association Ichiro Aisawa and Coordinator of the Deputy Group on Ties with the Japanese Parliament Yevgeny Shulepov also spoke at the plenary session.

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