MOSCOW (Reuters) - Japan has asked Russia to increase energy supplies after a nuclear power station was damaged by a massive earthquake and Moscow is ready to help, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said Saturday.
At a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Sechin said Russia could increase liquefied natural gas supply by 150,000 metric tons, while Russia's Mechel and SUEK will look into the possibility of raising coal supply by 3 to 4 million metric tons.
"Japan is our neighbor, our friendly neighbor, and despite different problems we have to be reliable partners," Putin said in the meeting broadcast on state television.
Sechin, Russia's top energy official, said Japan has asked Russia's state-controlled gas company Gazprom for more supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Mitsui, fellow Japanese trading firm Mitsubishi Corp and Royal Dutch Shell are Gazprom's partners in the Sakhalin-2 LNG project with a production capacity of around 10 million metric tons of the frozen gas a year.
Sechin also says Russia could supply Japan with power generated in the Russian Far East.
Longstanding tension over disputed islands Moscow calls the Southern Kurils and Tokyo calls the Northern Territories has flared in recent months, with Russia emphasizing it rejects Japan's territorial claims.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who angered Japan by visiting the Russian-held islands off Japan's Hokkaido in November, expressed sympathy and offered Japan emergency aid after the earthquake.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Alex Richardson)