Putin Hails New Shikotan Seafood Processing Plant

Putin hails new Shikotan seafood processing plant

Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in an event celebrating the completion of a state-of-the-art seafood processing plant in one of the four Russian-controlled islands claimed by Japan.

The plant on Shikotan Island was built at a cost of over 61 million dollars by Russian company Gidrostroy, which operates mainly on the islands, called the Northern Territories.

The plant will process fish caught in nearby waters, such as mackerels and walleye.

Putin, who is visiting Vladivostok to attend the Eastern Economic Forum, took part in the opening event via video link on Thursday. The opening coincided with a completion of an airport in Russia's Far East and the start of a mining operation.

Putin said new workplaces that offer good salaries are greatly important in the Russian Far East.

He added he is positive of the success of the projects.

The new processing plant is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment from Europe and is capable of processing 900 tons of fish a day.

It is expected to generate 200 jobs.

Vladivostok will be the scene of the latest round of talks between Putin and his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday.

Putin has played down Japan's stance by claiming the Northern Territories, known as the Kuril Islands in Russia, belong to his country.

Russia controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.