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Russia, Japan discuss economic projects on Kuril Islands

By Elizabeth Shim
Russia, Japan discuss economic projects on Kuril Islands
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a hot springs resort in Nagato, Japan, in December 2016. Russia and Japan are expanding cooperation on the Kuril Islands, which have been in dispute since the end of World War II. File Pool Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/EPA

March 31 (UPI) -- Russia has proposed the construction of wind turbines and aqua farming facilities on the Kuril Islands.

The Russian-held territories, also claimed by Japan, are being designated as the site of joint economic projects, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Friday.

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During a vice ministerial meeting on March 18, Moscow suggested 26 projects for the islands, including plans for building seafood-processing plants and geothermal power plants, according to the report.

Japan proposed 30 projects, including those related to tourism and healthcare services for Russian nationals on the four islands.

No plans have been finalized, and more discussion is expected to take place when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits Moscow on April 27-28.

There are also questions about the feasibility of the construction of a power plant on the islands, a large-scale project that could pose several challenges.

The proposal comes months after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Abe in December, where the two sides agreed to "joint economic activities" on the islands.

Japan offered $43 billion of combined investments, loans and credit lines for Russia under the deal, according to Tokyo.

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All four islets in the Kuril archipelago have been under Russian control since the end of World War II.

The two sides never signed a permanent treaty after the war.

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