TOKYO, May 10 – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has told Japanese media his country expects to sign a nuclear power pact with Japan during his visit here this week, reports said on Sunday.
In an interview with Japanese media in Moscow, Putin said he would also present a list of economic cooperation projects during his three-day visit beginning on Monday.
Various government-level agreements will be signed between Tokyo and Moscow as well as between private entities during his visit, he said, adding that a nuclear cooperation pact is also "expected to be signed".
Japan and Russia are in the final phase of talks over a pact to promote the non-military use of nuclear power, such as for electricity generation.
The pact will pave the way for Tokyo to entrust Moscow with uranium enrichment and allow Japan to export nuclear power plant technology to Russia, Kyodo News said.
Calling Japan an "important partner in promoting exchanges based on cutting-edge technologies," Putin said other potential projects would embrace sectors such as automobiles, energy, aerospace, communications, chemicals and steel, according to the Nikkei business daily.
Although Putin did not mention the number of projects on the list, sources said there are around 200, according to Nikkei.
The former Russian president also said Moscow is ready to talk with Tokyo on the nations\’ long-standing territorial dispute over a group of former Japanese islands seized by Soviet troops in the closing days of World War II.
But he did not go into specifics about the islands known in Japan as the Northern Territories and referred to in Russia as the Southern Kurils.
"In order to resolve such high-level and difficult problems, it is necessary to show patience, attention to each other\’s interests," Putin said according to Kyodo.
During his 2000-2008 presidency, Russia stood firm on the territorial dispute which has prevented the two countries from signing a postwar peace treaty.
In his first exclusive interview with Japanese media since becoming premier in May last year, Putin also pledged government support for Japanese companies to build car assembly plants in the Russian Far East, Nikkei said.
He also said an oil pipeline linking Eastern Siberia and Russia\’s Far Eastern Pacific coast will be built as scheduled, according to Kyodo.
"In spite of the economic crisis, the financial crisis, these projects are in fact supported by the federal budget and will not be sequestered,\’\’ Putin said.