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TOKYO, August 24. /TASS/. Japan plans to continue dialogue with Russia to solve the problem of southern Kuril Islands, as well as to conclude a peace treaty with Moscow, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during debates in the national parliament.
"We intend to continue dialogue, as well as stable Russian-Japanese talks contributing to Japan’s state interests," Abe said in response to a question from a deputy regarding Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Iturup Island.
"The visit by Prime Minister Medvedev to the Island of Iturup does not coincide with Japan’s position regarding the four northern islands [Russia’s south Kurils]," he said.
During a working trip along Russia’s Far East, Medvedev visited the Kuril Islands on August 22. This caused Tokyo’s negative reaction, and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida summoned Russia’s Ambassador to Japan Yevgeny Afanasyev.
On August 14, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said trips of the Russian government to the Kuril Islands will continue despite Tokyo’s position. The ministry called Japan’s comments unacceptable.
The problem of the southern Kuril Islands is the key obstacle to a complete normalization of the Russian-Japanese ties and the signing of a peace treaty. After the Second World War, all Kuril Islands were made part of the Soviet Union. But Japan does not agree that the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai island group belong to Russia. Tokyo calls the islands "Northern Territories".