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Russia, Japan sign MOU on cooperation

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Russia and Japan on Saturday inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Russia's Far Eastern Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) to expand cooperation between the two countries, a parliamentary official said.

"Today in Yakutia, we worked with Japanese lawmakers on the topics of inter-regional cooperation," Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia's parliament, said on Facebook.

The Japanese delegation was led by Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko, Kosachev said, giving no more details about the MOU.

According to a TASS report, Kosachev said he hopes that the discussions in Yakutia will lead to practical interaction, including at the inter-regional level in the future.

Seko said that Japanese-Russian relations are developing steadily and the Far East is one of the important areas of bilateral cooperation.

Both Russia and Japan claim a group of islands off Japan's northern prefecture of Hokkaido, called the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

The territorial spat has prevented the two countries from signing a post-World War II peace treaty and hindered their diplomatic and trade relations.

Russia has beefed up its military presence in the country's Far East, including on the disputed islands.

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