The move is intended to encourage Russia to start building the Japan-proposed pipeline ahead of a competing Chinese alternative.
Japan and China have lobbied for separate routes for pipelines connecting Tayshet in eastern Siberia to Perevoznaya near Nakhodka in the Russian Far East. Japan has urged Russia to build a pipeline from Angarsk near Lake Baikal to Nakhodka on the Sea of Japan, a route that would allow Russia to ship oil not only to Japan but to other Asian countries and the United States.
China wants the pipeline to run to Daqing, an inland city in Heilongjiang province that is closer to Angarsk than Nakhodka, arguing this would save construction costs. Russia’s state-owned Transneft, in charge of building and managing the pipeline, has yet to make a decision.