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Russia to accelerate development on disputed Island

Moscow, May 16 (Jiji Press) — A Russian government ministry has said that it will expand its development scheme for a northwestern Pacific island at the center of the longstanding territorial row with Japan.

The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East said Wednesday that due to new investment, it will initiate four new development projects on Shikotan, which is part of an archipelago called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia. Both countries claim sovereignty over the region.

The Russian-held island was designated as an “advanced special economic zone” by Moscow in 2017.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed last year to intensify negotiations on concluding a World War II peace treaty between the two countries on the basis of the 1956 Japan-Soviet joint declaration, which calls for the handover of Shikotan and the Habomai group of islets to Japan following the conclusion of a peace treaty.

However, the latest move sends a clear signal that the Kremlin will not stop developing Shikotan.

The new projects include tourism development, construction and ship repair. The total amount of investment for the new project will exceed 606 million rubles, or about 1.1 billion yen.

Government ordinances related to the project were signed by Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev.

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