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Japan Protests Against Russian Transport Minister Visit to The Kurils

08.09.2015 18:16

Japan is closely monitoring the visits of Russian officials to the southern Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said at a press conference on Tuesday.

On Monday, Russian Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov visited two of the Kuril Islands, Iturup and Kunashir, where he inspected transport infrastructure.

"With regard to the visit of the Russian transport minister and other dignitaries in the northern areas, it does not coincide with the position of our country. Regarding the visit of the Transport Minister on September 7, we handed in a protest note. We closely monitor such movements from the Russian side," the Japanese minister said.

The four Kuril Islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai — have been administered by Russia since the end of World War II, but Japan still lays claim to them. Kishida urged Russia to take a "constructive stance" on the matter.

However on Monday, Japan's Foreign Ministry claimed that the Russian transport minister's visit to the Kuril Islands was "unacceptable."