Source AP ©

Putin, Japanese former PM visit Toyota's plant opened in Russia

Japan’s cars maker Toyota Motor Corp. opened its first Russia ’s assembly plant on St. Petersburg 's outskirts.

It is expected, that the plant will employ at least 600 workers and some twenty thousands cars a year will be produced. Later, the output will grow to 50,000 vehicles a year. Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said the output could eventually reach 200,000 cars a year.

President Vladimir Putin, who attended the plant's opening, hailed it as a good sign for Russian-Japanese relations.

"The relationship between Russia and Japan is getting better, and the opening of the plant is a serious step to increase the trust between the two countries," Putin said at the ceremony. "The expansion of trade and economic ties between our countries will help the solution of other problems."

Russia'Japanese ties are tightened because of because of the Kuril Island dispute.

The Kuril Island dispute is a dispute between Japan and Russia over sovereignty over the southernmost Kuril Islands. The disputed islands, which were occupied by Soviet forces shortly after the Japanese surrender ended World War II, are currently under Russian administration as part of the Sakhalin Oblast, but are also claimed by Japan, which refers to them as the Northern Territories.

Former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori also attended the opening and praised the Russian Cabinet and local authorities for helping the project.

Watanabe noted that Russia's market  had a high potential and the company planed to boost sales.

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