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Japan has Northern Territories deal ready for Russia

Hokkaido doctors, cruise ships, abalone farmers could all pitch in

Four islands off the coast of Hokkaido have remained a thorn in Japan-Russia relations for decades.   © Getty/Kyodo

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is set to propose to Russia specific plans for joint economic development in what it calls the Northern Territories and what Moscow refers to as the Southern Kurils, The Nikkei has learned.

In December, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to joint development initiatives on the small islands north of Hokkaido under a "special framework." Russia administers the islets, but Japan sees them as part of its territory.

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