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Japan Looks to Increase Energy Ties with Russia

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Today Russia’s Minister of Energy Viktor Khristenko met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso, and later this week Mikhail Fradkov is expected to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The main issues on the table are oil, gas, investment in Sakhalin, and increasing trade ties. The Ministers promised increased cooperation, and Khristenko promised that a proposed 4,300 kilometer pipeline would indeed reach Perevoznaya on the Pacific coast, as had been lobbied by Japan. The Japanese have long been eager to ween themselves off an excessive dependence on Middle East oil, and given the fairly positive comments given by Aso, it seems like Japan may have gotten over their resentment following the hits they took during the Sakhalin-2 fiasco (Mitsui and Mitsubishi were pressured to sell to Gazprom along with Shell).