On Jan. 17, Alexander Krutikov, deputy minister for the development of the Russian Far East, indicated that Russia would continue to develop infrastructure on the Northern Territories as Russian territory, saying that Russia will move forward with the development of the Chishima Islands, including the Northern Territories, “as decided by the Russian government in 2015.”
He said this in response to questions from the Mainichi Shimbun and some other news outlets. He indicated that Japanese companies would not be given priority, saying “Russia will create an equal environment” to promote the entry of Russian and foreign companies into the Northern Territories.
During President Putin’s visit to Japan in December 2016, the Russian leader agreed with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to initiate consultations on “joint economic activities” between Japan and Russia in the Northern Territories. Regarding this, Deputy Minister Krutikov said, “The consultations are being conducted by our countries’ foreign ministries. We (Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East) will continue to develop the Kuril Islands (Chishima). We are developing the aquaculture business and underground resources as well as improving the distribution and social infrastructure. We are also inviting private-sector investment.”