Prior to the Japan-Russia summit on Dec. 15 and 16, the Russian government is asking Japan to support extending the Trans-Siberian Railway to Hokkaido, an idea broached by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Russia is seeking Japan’s cooperation in technology and other fields, which will improve relations and could help move the two nations closer to settling a long-running territorial dispute.
“Projects like this will contribute (to the improvement of relations of trust between Japan and Russia, which is regarded by President Putin as a precondition for negotiations on territorial disputes),” said a Russian diplomatic source.
The possibility of connecting Sakhalin with Hokkaido was included in the 18-item “priority projects” announced by the Ministry for Development of the Russian Far East in October. The total cost of those projects is estimated at more than 1 trillion rubles (about 1.8 trillion yen, or $15.6 billion).
Some municipalities in Hokkaido, where Japan Railway lines are in danger …