May 12, 2009

Putin urges Japanese investment in energy

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin urged Japanese business leaders in Tokyo Tuesday to invest more in Russia's energy resource development.

Putin, noting Moscow was ready for a dialogue with Japanese companies, said the first phase of a huge oil pipeline project in Serbia to is finished and Russia is seeking Japanese investment for the project's second phase, the Kyodo news agency reported.

The former Russian president indicated early completion of the pipeline project would be possible with more Japanese participation, said officials of the Japanese Business Federation, known as Nippon Keidanren. Energy development issues dominated the luncheon meeting, federation officials said.

Nippon Keidanren Chairman Fujio Mitarai said business leaders share the belief that development of Russia's far eastern region is critical to Japan's securing a stable energy resource supply, Kyodo said.

Now we recognize our bilateral relations have become strong. However, considering Russia's potential, there are some more chances (for them) to get stronger, Mitarai said while warning of the impact from the global financial crisis and economic downturn.

Putin said the Russian-Japanese economic relationship has entered a new level. ... We have a brighter business economic outlook.

Russia is ready to conduct direct dialogue with Japanese businesses, including Japanese automakers operating in Russia or planning to open plants in the country, Putin said.