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Earlier in the day, Japanese Cabinet’s chief secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed “extreme regret” over Ivanov’s visit to the Iturup island, but at the same time added it would not affect Moscow’s and Tokyo’s intention to continue their dialogue for the sake of advancing bilateral relations.
Talking to journalists Ivanov said it was his either fifth of sixth visit to Kuril Islands and “Each time I hear regrets, notes [of protest] and laments.”
Japan claims that such visits are expected to assert Russia’s sovereignty over the islands, which Tokyo regards as its “northern territories.”
“I am ready to patiently listen to all such explanations as long as I live,” the chief of the Russian presidential staff said.
A source at the Russian Embassy in Japan told Itar-Tass earlier that the Japanese Foreign Ministry had informed the Russian diplomatic mission it took note of Ivanov’s Wednesday trip to Iturup.“We have had a corresponding conversation at the Japanese Foreign Ministry,” the source said, adding that no official protest was expressed.
Ivanov arrived at Iturup earlier on Wednesday to inspect the newly-built airport and other facilities.
The Iturup International Airport is the first to be constructed from the scratch in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union in early 1990s and it was built under the Federal Program "Social and economic development of the Kuril Islands in 2007-2015."
Located just seven kilometers (over 4 miles) from the district center on the coast of the Sea of ··Okhotsk, the airport will serve routes connecting the island with Russia’s Far Eastern cities of Sakhalin, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok as well as flits to Japan.