Russia's Safe Fishing Pact Suspension Blindsides Japan
Tokyo, June 10 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese fishing industry has been taken aback by Russia's recent announcement of the suspension of its agreement with Japan on safe fishing in seas near four northwestern Pacific islands at the center of the two countries' decades-old territorial dispute.
Japanese fishers say that there is little they can do about the Russian decision regarding fishing in waters near the islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories, given that it is viewed as retaliation for the Japanese government's economic sanctions against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
If the situation persists, it is likely to affect the next fishing season for Okhotsk Atka mackerel from September.
"It was a complete surprise," a Japanese government source said of the Russian announcement, which was made Tuesday.
Tokyo takes the position that its freeze on payments for a cooperative project in the Russian province of Sakhalin, which Moscow cited as the reason for its decision to put the bilateral safe fishing agreement on hold, is separate from the pact.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]