Japan and China are nearing an agreement to jointly develop gas fields in disputed waters in the East China Sea, the Wall Street Journal reported. The deal would potentially resolve a disagreement that has hurt relations between the two countries for years. Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu confirmed the talks, which are in final stages, saying they have "made remarkable progress." Japan’s vice minister of economy, trade and industry Takao Kitaba said Japan plans to invest in the disputed gas field known by both its Japanese name Shirakaba and its Chinese name Chunxiao. China and Japan have been discussing the gas fields since 2004, but progress had been hampered by acrimonious relations between Asia’s two largest economic powers, the paper said.