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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gref Woos Japanese Investors

Russia wants Japan to become one of its leading economic partners despite a territorial dispute that has strained ties between them since the end of World War II, Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said Tuesday.

Gref told reporters on the sidelines of a conference that Japanese investment in Russia — $350 million, including $152 million in direct investments — was far from satisfactory.

"We would like to see Japan among our leading investors," Gref told the first Russian-Japanese economic forum.

Japanese special envoy Tatsuo Arima said his country was ready to continue a political dialogue while building economic ties, but that the lack of a peace treaty over the Kuril Islands had a negative impact on nongovernmental economic ties.

Trade turnover between Japan and Russia was just $5.2 billion in 2000, versus $250 billion turnover between Japan and the United States and $85 billion with China, Arima said.

Gref said Russia hoped to boost trade turnover with Japan to $10 billion in coming years and to $100 billion after a decade.

Gref proposed a range of joint projects that could attract Japanese investment, such as a transcontinental fiber-optic link and a pipeline between the Far East and Western Europe.