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Russia–Japan
5 September 2019
09:00—10:30
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russian market attracts Japanese investors

The Russian Far East, as the gateway that gives access to the vast Russian market, as well as for exports to Asian countries, is becoming increasingly important — Nobuhiko Sasaki, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

There are investments and interactions, not only in traditional sectors, such as energy, but in new areas as well. <...> As an example, there is Canon’s planned investments in Russia, cooperation with Russian partners in the production of medical equipment. Activities range from traditional industries to those where we have not yet seen large investments by Japanese companies or joint projects — Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

We work very productively with the largest partners from Japan, particularly with companies like Mitsui and Marubeni, but besides that, we are open not only to interaction with giant corporations, but also with small and medium-sized businesses in Japan — Vladimir Primak, Director at Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

Russia is a unique country with vast business opportunities where success can be achieved through trust and interaction — Masami Iijima, Representative Director, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mitsui & Co., Ltd..

Japanese companies continue to actively invest in the Russian market, even taking into account the negative impact of restrictive measures initiated by other countries — Alexey Repik, Chairman, Russian-Japanese Business Council; President, Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia); Chairman of the Board, Group R-Pharm .

The number of requests from Japanese companies is growing all the time, we see this as a certain sign of goodwill from the Japanese business community and we intend to justify their confidence in us — Aleksey Khachay, General Director, Japanese Project Promotion Vehicle in the Far East.

Cooperation in the transport sector is becoming a strategic priority

Speaking about promising areas, there is great potential in the transport sector. <...> One of these projects, which is of strategic importance for our countries, not only for Russia but for Japan as well, is using the Russian railways network for transit between Japan and Europe — Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Milestones of active development in the region have to do with changes that take place in the maritime and land transport thoroughfares. In terms of sea transport, it is the development of the Northern Sea Route. Participants in the Arctic LNG 2 project, including the Japanese consortium, made the investment decision: the energy resources of the Russian Arctic will be shipped through the Russian Far East to Asian countries that are centres of global economic growth. Its importance as an export hub will increase greatly. Japanese companies are closely monitoring this prospect. Changes happen on land as well. By increasing its efficiency, the Trans-Siberian Railway is steadily boosting its significance in the development of the Far East. Japan is making efforts to use it effectively, and we already do pilot cargo transfers — Hiroshige Seko, Minister for Economic Cooperation with Russia, Japan.

We hope that the increase in throughput and in the efficiency of the Trans-Siberian Railway connecting the Russian Far East not only with the central part of Russia, but with the European countries too, will contribute to a major increase in passenger flow and cargo shipments between the extreme points of Eurasia. <...> Projects related to the development of the Northern Sea Route play a very important role in mutual cooperation between our countries. That is, first of all, the Arctic LNG 2 project, which, in accordance with the agreement reached this year in Osaka in the presence of the leaders of our countries, is developed with the participation of Japanese companies — Alexey Repik, Chairman, Russian-Japanese Business Council; President, Delovaya Rossiya (Business Russia); Chairman of the Board, Group R-Pharm .

Russian Railways, as a corporation, is collaborating with our Japanese partners already. The key area is the Trans-Siberian Railway shipments. Today, cooperation with Japan accounts for nearly one third of the Trans-Siberian Railway cargo turnover; it exceeded 45 million tonnes last year, and the volume of cargo traffic is growing. Container shipments are growing faster than average, accounting for more than 11%, — Oleg Belozerov, Chief Executive Officer – Chairman of the Executive Board, Russian Railways.

Russia is interested in the experience of its Japanese partners

Today, the issues of urban environment development are relevant all around the globe. The development of our megacities, the economy in megacities, solving environmental and transport problems – these are the major issues on today’s agenda. <...> We are highly interested in the Japanese experience in creating a high-quality urban environment in Japanese cities — Vladimir Yakushev, Minister of Construction, Housing, and Utilities of the Russian Federation.

Creating a high-quality urban environment is today’s most important topic and the most important area for us; our big customers will be Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. We count on the support of our strategic partner JBIC in helping us bring in our Japanese colleagues as well as the technologies that can be in high demand, and can be implemented here — Nikolay Tsekhomskiy, First Deputy Chairman – Member of the Management Board, State Development Corporation "VEB.RF" .

In order to further increase labour productivity, we are striving to create a model for training the next generation of personnel and, through the Federal Centre of Competence, to replicate this experience in other regions of Russia, including the Far East — Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Toyota Motor Corporation.

Much has changed in the 21st century, including the way we think about transport. If previously the distance was measured in kilometres, for passengers today it is measured in hours needed to get from point A to point B. <...> The concept of transport has changed for cargos as well. Cargo transport is no longer measured in kilometres. Today, it is the cost of delivering a unit of cargo from point A to point B, which includes not only the transportation cost in and of itself, but also the costs of transshipment at the port of arrival and at the port of destination, warehouse storage, insurance and other expenses are integrally taken into consideration. We see that Japan, as a very developed economy and society, navigated through these changes and reformed its transport system, starting from 1980s. In many ways, Russia is only now conducting this process — Roman Trotsenko, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, AEON Corporation.

Japan is interested in the development of tourism

Japan has set a goal to increase the number of foreign tourists to 40 million people a year by 2020. <...> Thanks to the simplified visa regime, the number of visitors to Japan from Russia has grown rapidly over the past few years. Last year, it increased 1.7 times compared to 2016, and reached 95,000 people — Yoshiharu Ueki, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Japan Airlines.

ISSUES
Weak legislation and lack of information

Japanese companies consider the access to reliable and objective information to be insufficient, as well as stability and predictability in the application of laws — Teruo Asada, Chair, Japan-Russia Business Cooperation Committee, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) .

Russian Far East lags in social development

Presently, there is a problem with medicine, with the hospitals in the Russian Far East — Satsuki Katayama, Minister of State for Regional Revitalization; Minister of State for Regulatory Reform; Minister of State for Gender Equality; Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment.

SOLUTIONS
Cooperating in innovative spheres

The most important thing for urban development is not only to consider welfare issues; creating smart cities brings real tangible benefits to both countries — Satsuki Katayama, Minister of State for Regional Revitalization; Minister of State for Regulatory Reform; Minister of State for Gender Equality; Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment.

As part of the Skolkovo project, the interaction between our countries could be intensified starting next year — Koji Omi, Founder, Chairman, Science and Technology in Society Forum (STS forum).

Telemedicine will be helpful in solving problems with medical care in the Far East — Satsuki Katayama, Minister of State for Regional Revitalization; Minister of State for Regulatory Reform; Minister of State for Gender Equality; Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment.

Lifting trade restrictions

Since the Russian and Japanese sales markets are not in competition, we have an opportunity to develop our trade relations. But these relations could have an even greater momentum if we could resolve a number of issues that currently stand in the way of rapid project implementation in Russia. The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade has a list of import-substituting areas. If we could stipulate those areas in the agreements between agencies, so that our Japanese partners would get a confirmation of our priorities in those areas, this would allow us not to ask for major warranties from the Japanese side that slow down the implementation of projects. Funding of these projects would be facilitated from the standpoint of preparation, both at the start-up phase and throughout their implementation — Mikhail Sutyaginskiy, Chairman of the Board, Titan.

Regional cooperation

Russia and Japan are diverse, and each region and prefecture is unique in its own way. Together we can create a solid base for stable cooperation in economics, culture and sports — Stanislav Voskresensky, Governor, Ivanovo Region.

Revival of the regions is very important for the development of the country as a whole. Specifically, we must act on the projects in medicine, healthcare, waste processing, as well as the development of transport infrastructures — Shinji Hirai, Governor of Tottori Prefecture .

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS