Russia eyes free trade zone on islands questioned by Japan


Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Monday visited the disputed Kuril Islands and said authorities wanted to determine a free economic zone there, sparking a protest from Japan.

The Kurils, which lie north of Japan’s Hokkaido island, are controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops within the dying days of war II.

The territorial dispute has kept the 2 countries from signing a peace accord that might formally end their wartime hostilities.

During his visit to Iturup, the most important and northernmost island of the archipelago, Mishustin proposed exempting the islands from customs and reducing taxes for businesses. “This set of measures is unprecedented,” Mishustin said.

“We can also believe exempting from taxpayer obligations those that work and invest here,” Mishustin added.

He added that the measures would be extended to most activities on the island with some exemptions, like the assembly of alcohol.

“This special regime will help intensify economic activity here. are going to be able to| I’ll”> I will be able to report these proposals to the Russian president and a relevant decision will be made,” Mishustin said.

The Japanese foreign ministry issued a protest over Mishustin’s visit to the Northern Territories, as they’re known in Japan, and summoned the Russian ambassador.

In a post on Facebook, ambassador Mikhail Galuzin called the protest “unacceptable”.

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