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Tokyo protests Russian official’s visit to Iturup island

August 13, 2015, 16:56 UTC+3 TOKYO
The presidential envoy to the Far Eastern federal district, Yuri Trutnev, has arrived in Iturup to participate in the all-Russian youth educational forum held on the island since Wednesday
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Sergeev

TOKYO, August 13. /TASS/. Japan’s government has lodged a protest to the Russian embassy amid the visit of a senior Russian official to Iturup, one of the islands in the southern Kurils claimed by Tokyo.

The presidential envoy to the Far Eastern federal district, Yuri Trutnev, has arrived in Iturup to participate in the all-Russian youth educational forum held on the island since Wednesday.

A representative of the Russian embassy in Tokyo has confirmed to TASS that the Japanese side has voiced protest in a telephone conversation.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in late July he planned to again visit the Kuril Islands and advised his colleagues in the government to follow suit. Medvedev was the first Russian senior official to visit the Kuril Islands in November 2010 when he was the president of Russia.

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida had asked Medvedev to cancel his trip to the Kuril Islands noting that this could "hurt the feelings of the Japanese people." Medvedev’s spokesperson Natalya Timakova said the prime minister "determines the routes of his trips around the country himself and needs no recommendations from outside."

The four islands of Russia’s Southern Kurils — Shikotan, Khabomai, Iturup and Kunashir, which Japan calls its northern territories, have been a source of dispute between Moscow and Tokyo all through the post-war period. Russia and Japan have no peace treaty signed after World War II.

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