The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Russia’s Ministry of Energy convened an “energy initiative council” in Tokyo on April 21 to strengthen the two countries’ cooperation in the energy field. The meeting was last held in Moscow in January and this was the first time for it to take place in Tokyo. The two ministries confirmed the progress made in individual fields, which the leaders of the two nations agreed on in December.
At the opening of the meeting, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko explained that “the energy field serves as a linchpin in the Japan-Russia economic relationship” and stressed the “importance of facilitating cooperation in a prompt fashion.” His Russian counterpart, Energy Minister Alexander Novak, referred to the summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin last year and pointed out that “the direction of the Japan-Russia relationship has shifted since last year.”
At the meeting, the two sides reported on their progress in a total of 23 energy projects agreed upon during the summit talks and confirmed “steady progress” in the decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, cooperation in the proliferation of renewable energy, and hydrocarbon technology cooperation, according to METI. They will also confirm cooperation when Abe and Putin meet in Moscow starting on April 27.