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Japan to Join Russia in Upgrading Trans-Siberian Railway

July 2008.

Japan has decided to help Russia modernize the Trans-Siberian Railway -- a 9,300 kilometre network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East -- by providing government-backed loans and trade insurance, the Nikkei reported according to Thomson Financial.

This is part of a plan envisioned by the Japanese and Russian governments that also includes cooperation in development of natural resources and industry in regions along the transcontinental route, the business daily said.

Last year, Russia drew up a basic plan to upgrade the railway by 2030 at a total cost of about 69 trillion yen ($638.0 billion), with some funds coming from private-sector investors overseas.

Once the upgrade is completed, transportation time from Moscow to Vladivostok in Russia's Far East will be halved to one week.

A bilateral ministerial-level meeting on investment will be held in St Petersburg in early September to discuss cooperation in various fields, it said.

Also expected to participate in this forum are representatives from more than 100 Japanese firms in natural resources, transportation, finance and automobiles, the report said.

The government also plans to promote investment by Japanese firms in a number of special economic zones and resource-rich areas along the route.

To this end, it plans to offer loans from the Japan Bank for International Cooperation as well as trade insurance underwritten by Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, the Nikkei said.

In addition, Japan will offer assistance in streamlining customs clearance procedures.



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