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Speeches and Statements by the Prime Minister

Address by the Prime Minister at the 5th Eastern Economic Forum Plenary Session

September 5, 2019

[Provisional translation]

President Putin, thank you very much for inviting me here today. It is a pleasure to be with you again this year here in Vladivostok.

Mr. Brilev, I am very happy to share the stage with you once more this year.

And to all the leaders joining us on the stage, I know each of you very well, and everyone here is someone to whom I wish to express my heartfelt respect.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Mahathir, President Battulga,

I find it fascinating that what brings together the five of us, including President Putin, is Vladivostok. My colleagues here on the stage, what do you think?

What you can envision with us is a grand connection among us all, by a line drawn with a single brushstroke. It is the swift flow of water, from the Arctic Ocean through the Sea of Japan and the South China Sea connecting to the Indian Ocean. It is powerful billowing waves.

I will assert in a loud voice that, ladies and gentlemen, the future is with us here. It is precisely here where our unbounded potential lies.

This year I have once again come to speak of the future and its potential—to speak exclusively of the future and its potential.

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to quote a four-line poem you all know.

Russia cannot be understood with the mind alone,
No ordinary yardstick can span her greatness:
She stands alone, unique –
In Russia, one can only believe. And in which way should one deal with Russia.


Let us now replace “Russia” in this famous poem with “Japan.”

If it is “in Japan” that “one can only believe,” what and how exactly should one believe? To this I will offer three points.

As for what is Japan, the first is a “vanguard.”

This is because Japan has no choice but to tackle earlier than anywhere else in the world problems that all of you will face at some point, such as the aging of society.

The second point is an extension of the first, that Japan is “solutions.” Japan can offer a wide range of solutions to the problems you are facing.

The third point is that Japan is a “partner.” It is a country in which you can place your trust. Once Japan makes a promise, our posterity too will uphold it without fail.

President Putin—Vladimir—

The audience here might not know that the summit meeting we just had was our 27th. It’s essential for them to have a solid understanding of this fact.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s important for you to know that President Putin and I have had meals together time and time again, and as a result we are friends who have, as you might say, “eaten a pood of salt together.”

Only then can you see that we have our agendas that are overlapping.

On your end are the “12 National Projects.”

These are a number of undertakings that President Putin is making all-out efforts to promote. This is something I and the Japanese government know very well. That is because we have looked into them thoroughly.

The reason we looked into them is that we wanted to consider how Japan can cooperate with Russia in what areas in order to yield the greatest effects.

This is something President Putin and I say every time the two of us meet, that Japan-Russia relations hold unlimited potential.

So my government turned its attention to what kinds of undertakings would be ideal to make that potential bloom and propel Japan-Russia relations into the future.

Please take a look at this slide.

On the left-hand side you will see the 12 projects that Russia is promoting. On the right-hand side are the eight points of Japan-Russia cooperation currently underway.

Health and population,

Improving housing, cities, and the environment,

Small and medium businesses, labor productivity, and supporting employment.

Please take a good look at where a red thread connects those items laid out by Russia on the left with the various areas of cooperation promoted by Japan on the right.

The eight points of Japan-Russia cooperation were selected in the hope of becoming one solution for Russia’s national issues.

What you’ll see next is the interim report regarding that cooperation. It is a short video, 2 minutes and 40 seconds long.

(Video plays)

I was the producer of this video. Thank you very much. What do you think? Thank you.

What in that was interesting to you? I particularly liked the woman who became able to walk quite briskly even without using a cane.

According to a survey done of Japanese people’s walking speeds, the 75-year-olds of today walk at the same speed that 65-year-olds did ten years ago. In other words, over the past decade, Japan’s elderly reversed their aging by ten years.

I can’t help but break into a smile imagining that Japan’s cooperation will enable even one more elderly Russian man or woman to walk briskly.

Japan wants to show that kind of bright future and limitless potential to ordinary Russian people living ordinary lives. That is a hope we always cherish.

Let me tell you some bigger stories now.

First is the story of an enormous waste treatment facility. The need to modernize waste management is one area President Putin emphasized in his annual presidential address to the Federal Assembly.

Ladies and gentlemen, this July a company that is part of Japan’s Hitachi Zosen group received an order for a waste incineration plant outside Moscow.

It will be able to process up to 7,600 tons per day.

As it incinerates these 7,600 tons of waste daily, it can simultaneously generate enough electricity to supply 1.5 million people. This means that, under this calculation, over ten percent of the city of Moscow’s electrical demand will be covered through the incineration of waste.

Next is about Japan’s car companies. Each of them is increasingly interested in Russia.

Toyota is using 20 billion rubles until 2028 as additional investments into its St. Petersburg plant.
At the same time, it is revamping its suppliers’ manufacturing lines and enhancing the technical abilities of the people who work there at the plant, aiming to widely introduce what is known as the “Toyota Way.”

Hino Motors, one of Japan’s biggest truck manufacturers, is currently constructing a plant on the outskirts of Moscow. It plans to manufacture medium and light-duty trucks at a scale of approximately 2,000 vehicles annually.

The Mazda Sollers auto plant here in Vladivostok, which President Putin and I toured last year, started manufacturing engines in July this year. With what is said to be an annual production capacity of 50,000 units, this is an important plant for Mazda’s global strategy.

And now I will share with you the most exciting story.

It is the dynamic development of arctic LNG, ice-breaking LNG tankers, and transshipment on the Kamchatka Peninsula to head to countries around Asia.

When I spoke to you last year, this was still in the planning stages.

At the Yamal LNG facility, where Japanese companies were involved in the design and the construction, three LNG trains have all now begun production and export, and finally in June the facility managed to achieve its first shipment to Japan.

Japan’s major marine transportation company Mitsui OSK Lines has readied three ice-breaking LNG vessels and is committed to the success of Yamal LNG exports.

There is also the “Arctic LNG2” project.

This past June, it was decided that Mitsui & Co. and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) would invest in this massive LNG project, whose annual production capacity is at a scale of 20 million tons. Japan will become one of the leading stakeholders and, before long I expect, a buyer of the LNG produced there.

Once the LNG moves beyond Kamchatka, the battle against ice becomes unnecessary, so there it can be transshipped to ordinary tankers.

When this comes to fruition, it will be the realization of a grand connection among us, drawn with a single unbroken line: a free and open Indo-Pacific and the Arctic Ocean, where Russia is pushing forward with development. For the first time in human history, these two seas will become one, and a magnificent physical distribution highway will come into being.

Examples like the ones you have seen here are but a small part of a much greater whole. The number of private sector projects born out of Japan-Russia cooperation over the past three years easily totals more than 200.

While I am no Fyodor Tyutchev, there is only one way to interact with Japan, and to repeat, that is to believe—to place your trust in Japan.

“Trust” is born between one person and another and connects one person with another. Over the past year, Japan and Russia continued our cultural exchanges to an extent unprecedented in the history of our relations.

Let us spread this energy all around each other’s countries. This is something that President Putin and I decided this past June. We will make 2020 to 2021 a year of Japan-Russia regional exchanges. The governments of both our countries will be involved in exchanges between one region and another, for example between sister cities.

Incidentally, the number of people in Japan interested in visiting Vladivostok is increasing. My coming here every year may also have helped somewhat. Regardless, the number of tourists from Japan—especially women—has increased, and in response Japan’s two major airlines will both launch direct flights connecting Tokyo and Vladivostok.

Starting this month, we will issue multiple-entry visas for a maximum of five years to people working at Russian companies or research institutions related to our eight-point cooperation plan. We will also make it easy for Russian university students to get visas so that they can come to Japan in greater and greater numbers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In Japan, a new emperor has acceded to the Imperial throne and the name of the era has changed accordingly.

A major event announcing the rise of the curtain on this new era is the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off on the 20th of this month. And the very first match of the tournament is none other than Japan vs. Russia.

It goes without saying that I have full faith that Japan will emerge the winner—sorry, Vladimir. But I want the Russian athletes also to give it their all. I would be very happy if the Russia team won its matches against all its opponents except Japan.

Next year the Olympic and Paralympic Games await us, to be held in Tokyo.

The time to entrust the future to Japan is now. That is the appeal I wish to make to all of you. It is now that Japan and Russia will together create the future.

Against a backdrop of Japanese and Russians sharing the joy of work and young people in our two countries sporting carefree smiles, let us each foster in the other for the first time in history the power to envision dreams together and the habit of doing so.

Vladimir, you and I envisage the same future.

So let us go forward, Vladimir. For the sake of Russia’s young people. For the sake of the people in Japan taking on responsibility for the future.

Next year marks 75 years since the end of the war. It also marks 30 years since the end of the Cold War.

We made a firm promise in 1956 to build relations on the principles of peace, friendship, and good-neighborly relations, never again going to war with each other or regarding each other as enemies.
And now we are accelerating our steps forward with a view to making our mutual development in trade and the economy, foreign policy, culture and sports, and every other area head in the same direction.

Joint economic activities on the Four Northern Islands and people-to-people exchanges have also advanced to levels never seen before.

The new cooperative relationship between Japan and Russia is steadily coming to show that state of affairs, thanks to the efforts the two of us have made.

And beyond that lies the historic mission of concluding a peace treaty.

We can no longer make the people who will live in the future wait.

Let the two of us, Vladimir, join our forces to run, dash, and then dash more until we reach the goal, shall we not?

Let us each bear responsibility towards history.

Let us conclude a peace treaty and unleash in one fell swoop the unlimited potential that the people of our two countries hold.

Virtually the next instant, the connection between Japan and Russia will change the region. It will begin to change the world significantly.

Ladies and gentlemen, and indeed, all the Russian people, I ask that you allow new and tremendous potential, in which Japan joins your future, to flap its wings—the wings of imagination.
Let us together forge history. Let us together carve out the future, shall we not?

Thank you very much. Spasibo!

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