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Japan FM asks Russia’s Medvedev to cancel visit to Kuril Islands — Kyodo

July 24, 2015, 7:50 UTC+3 TOKYO
The Russian premier announced his plans to visit the islands on Thursday, advising other ministers to follow his example
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Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in South Kuril bay on Kunashir Island in the southern Kuril Islands on July 3, 2012

Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in South Kuril bay on Kunashir Island in the southern Kuril Islands on July 3, 2012

© ITAR-TASS/ Dmitry Astakhov

TOKYO, July 24. /TASS/. Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has sent through the Japanese Embassy in Moscow a request to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, asking him to cancel his visit to the Kuril Islands, the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Foreign Policy Bureau told TASS on Thursday.

In a statement sent to Medvedev through the embassy, Kishida said: "If the trip [by Medvedev] takes place, this will run counter to Japan’s position on the issue of the four northern islands and will hurt the feelings of the Japanese people."

The Japanese Foreign Ministry also said that a similar request had been forwarded to the Russian Foreign Ministry, asking the Russian premier not to visit the territories claimed by Japan.

Medvedev on Thursday announced his plans to visit the disputed islands in Russia's Far East — known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia but as the Northern Territories in Japan — and advised other ministers to follow his example.

"I am planning to go and have a look how matters stand there. And I invite the others," Medvedev told a government meeting, without giving any specific date of his trip.

Medvedev first visited the Kuril Islands in 2010 when he was holding the post of the Russian president. He became the first Russian leader to visit the islands.

In 2012, the premier visited Kunashir, southernmost of the Kuril Islands.

Japan, which claims four of the Kuril Islands, including Kunashir, protested against Medvedev’s visits. However, Moscow repeatedly stated that Tokyo had no right to give Russian leaders advice on the routes of their domestic trips.

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