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Japan regrets Russian health minister’s visit to South Kuril islands

July 21, 2015, 9:42 UTC+3 TOKYO

Japan did not present a note of protest to Russia

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A view of Shikotan

A view of Shikotan

© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Sergeyev

TOKYO, July 21. /TASS/. Japan’s Foreign Ministry expressed regrets over Russian Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova’s visit to one of South Kuril islands, Shikotan, Russia’s embassy in Japan told TASS on Tuesday.

"We were notified that Japan regrets this [Skvortsova’s visit to Shikotan]," the embassy said noting that Japan did not present a note of protest to Russia.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also expressed regret about Russian health minister’s visit to what Tokyo calls its "northern territories." "This is regrettable. It goes against our position on the territorial problem and is unacceptable," Suga said.

Last weekend, Skvortsova made a working trip to the South Kuril islands, visiting a new hospital on Shikotan.

Territorial dispute

Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II. Settlement of the problem inherited by Russia’s diplomacy from the Soviet Union is hampered by the years-long dispute over the four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils - Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories.

After World War II, in September 1945, Japan signed the capitulation, and in February 1946, the Kuril Islands were declared territories of the Soviet Union.

During the Cold War, Moscow did not recognize the territorial problem, but in October 1993, when Russian president Boris Yeltsin was on an official visit in Japan, the existence of the problem was confirmed officially. However, the two countries have reached no compromise over the dispute yet.

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