Putin woos Japan on energy needs

May 1, 2013 at 6:55 AM

MOSCOW, May 1 (UPI) -- Russian energy suppliers are sympathetic to Japan's need for natural gas following the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

Putin, meeting in Moscow with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said Russia was eager to help Japan make up for its energy deficits after the 2011 nuclear accident.

After the Fukushima meltdown, "of 50 nuclear power units (in Japan), only two are working," he was quoted by Russian news agency RT as saying. "That's a large drop in power generation, we understand that perfectly."

Russian natural gas makes up about 8 percent of Japan's annual needs. Russian natural gas company Gazprom is working with Japan to launch the Vladivostok liquefied natural gas project to address the country's energy needs.

Japan relies completely on LNG for its natural gas needs. Japanese Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said getting natural gas easily and at an attractive price was a growing concern.

Gazprom posted its first profit loss in more than a decade as its European consumer base shrinks. Putin said Russia is "capable of providing for the growing consumption of hydrocarbons in Japan without harm to our traditional partners and without harm to our own consumers."

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