Japan Sees Russia's Halt to Fisheries Pact Regrettable


Tokyo, June 8 (Jiji Press)--Russia's unilateral suspension of an agreement on safeguarding the operations of Japanese fishing boats in waters near disputed northwestern Pacific islands is regrettable, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said Wednesday.

Japan plans to hold talks with Russia to allow Japanese fishing boats to operate there during the peak autumn fishing season under the agreement, Matsuno said at a press conference.

Russia suspended the 1998 agreement in apparent retaliation against Japan's sanctions on Russian over its invasion of Ukraine, a development that is expected to worsen bilateral relations further, pundits said.

The Japanese and Russian governments negotiate specific conditions, including the size of catches, each year to ensure that Moscow does not interfere with Japanese fishing operations in the waters.

The Russian Foreign Ministry announced the suspension of the agreement Tuesday. In a statement, it criticized Japan for freezing payments stipulated by the agreement, dragging its feet on signing an annual implementation document on providing nonrepayable technical assistance to the Sakhalin region, which it said is an integral element of the functioning of the agreement.

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