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Russia–Japan
8 June 2019
10:00—11:15
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Russian-Japanese commercial relations gradually developing

Russian-Japanese trade grew by 17% in 2018. The growth continues in 2019. It is not a great time for global trade, which affects economic performance all around the globe. Trade with Japan is one of the most rapidly growing among Russian trading partners. This means that Russian-Japanese commercial and economic relations are relations of growth without scandals or issues. This is a very good trend — Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Today, there are around 170 projects, more than a half of them are being actively implemented. Alongside the promotion of the Eight-Point Cooperation plan, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan and the Russian Government also work in such areas as joint medium-sized and small ventures, energy, performance improvement — Yoshihiro Seki, State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan.

Japan has always cooperated and traded with Primorsky Territory, and this still goes on. We have 30 Japanese companies firmly established in the region that see business prospects — Oleg Kozhemyako, Primorsky Territory Governor.

ISSUES
Relatively low trade turnover

Mutual trade turnover has exceeded USD 20 billion. Japan is the leader in trade turnover growth in Russia and with Russia, but 20 billion is not enough — Roman Trotsenko, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, AEON Corporation.

Insufficient knowledge of specifics of doing business with each other

Russian companies believe that a breakthrough in relations with Japanese partners is possible within a few months or years. So, when they find out that the project requires 4–6 years of cooperation, the teams at Russian companies that are engaged in the project change, and finally the interest fades away, which makes the Japanese partners very sad, because they interpret that as lack of serious attitude. <…> Large Japanese companies very often think that Russian business can solve a lot of problem themselves, including attracting funding, export and import guarantees — Roman Trotsenko, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, AEON Corporation.

Economic sanctions against Russia

We are establishing cooperation, but we need to take sanctions into consideration and work carefully — Tadashi Maeda, Governor of the Board of Directors, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

SOLUTIONS
Support from government development institutes

Look for financial partners in state banks and use development institutions. One of the most successful partnerships is partnership with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, that can be a guide in Russian-Japanese relations, creating comfortable environment for both countries — Roman Trotsenko, Founder, Chairman of the Board of Directors, AEON Corporation.

A big deal – and it was a breakthrough – is cooperation of the Russian Direct Investment Fund with the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, creation of a platform for supporting Japanese investments in the Far East. This fund was started in 2017 and its amount is USD 1 billion. The amount of investment for 2018 alone totalled USD 230 million — Maxim Oreshkin, Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation.

Active cooperation in innovative technologies

We see interesting potential not only in energy and infrastructure, but also in new technology. In digitalization and sustainable development in particular — Vladimir Primak, Director at Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).

Society 5.0 is a society of solving social challenges, bringing together creativity and digital innovation. Russian companies can progress and develop their digital businesses — Teruo Asada, Chair, Japan-Russia Business Cooperation Committee, Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) .

Innovations, start-ups are promising areas for building relations — Yasukazu Irino, Executive Vice President, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

From the point of view of robotics, where Japan has significant advances, we can think about doing business together — Vadim Shvetsov, Director General, PJSC Sollers.

Information technology is a major industry alongside tourism in Japan. We used a concept like this to create IT Innovation and Strategy Center in Okinawa. We would like to work together with Russian companies — Yasuhiro Tamaki, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture.

Distribution of illegal products is becoming serious. One of promising ways to solve this problem is product tracking. This system would use digital labelling — Mutsuo Iwai, Executive Vice President, Representative Director, Japan Tobacco Inc.

Developing new areas of bilateral economic relations

I would like to mention a new area that has come into the spotlight for the first time in the Far East – creation of a health centre — Oleg Kozhemyako, Primorsky Territory Governor.

Tourism is an attractive industry for building relations between our countries. We wish more Japanese people knew about attractive tourist destinations in the Russian Federations — Hiroshi Meguro, Vice President, Japan Association for Trade with Russia and the NIS (ROTOBO) .

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS