Russian president Vladimir Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin

A state-owned Russian rail operator has proposed a rail link connecting Japan with the Trans-Siberian railway and Europe.

Rusian Railways said a rail link would be a much faster and more efficient way for Japan to get its goods to Europe than on board container ships.

Vyacheslav Pavolovsky, vice president of the company, said a feasibility study would be carried out, and suggested the cargo carried by the line could total almost 32 million tonnes by 2030.

It has been reported in the Russian press that Russia might offer to return to Japan the Kuril Islands – which the Soviet Union annexed at the end of World War II – in return for its financial assistance on this and other projects.

It is further reported that, President Putin – who arrived in Tokyo last week for a state visit – was keen to discuss a number of similar projects, with an estimated combined value of between $15 billion and $16 billion.

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