Russia, Japan Plan $1 Billion Fund for Equity Investments

Wall Street Journal, 16.12.2016

NAGATO, Japan—Russia and Japan will create a $1 billion fund for equity investments in bilateral projects such as pharmaceuticals and energy, the head of a Russian state fund said.

The Russian direct investment fund and Japan Bank for International Cooperation will each invest $500 million in the fund,RDIF Chief Executive Kirill Dmitriev told The Wall Street Journal in an interview.

The plan is set to be announced Friday as part of a series of economic deals confirmed on the sidelines of summit talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Japan.

The two nations are building economic ties as they seek to eventually sign a peace treaty to formally end hostilities from World War II. At the end of the war, the Soviet Union occupied four Japanese-administered islands that Tokyo wants back.

Russia, currently under international economic sanctions, is eager to attract foreign investment.

Mr. Dmitriev said the investment plans would help “create the fabric for dialogue” on a peace treaty. He said that he expected Japanese companies to contribute to the fund.

Mr. Dmitriev said 20 joint investment projects are planned, with four or five likely in the next six months. The project areas include agriculture, airport logistics, manufacturing and health care, he said.

A JBIC spokesman declined to comment about the new fund. But he noted that JBIC and RDIF have been in partnership since 2013 to provide assistance to Japanese companies looking to enter the Russian market.