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TOKYO, September 11. /TASS/. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida has refuted media reports saying he may pay a visit to Russia on September 20-23.
"This information is not true," Kishida told a press conference in Tokyo.
Earlier today, several Japanese media reported that the foreign minister may pay an official visit to Russia on September 20-23 and that the date is being coordinated at the moment.
Commenting on the reports, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that no decisions have been made on this matter yet. "Nothing is yet decided on Kishida’s visit to Russia and everything connected with it," Suga noted. Answering a question on how the prospects of Kishida’s visit to Moscow may be influenced by recent visits to the Kuril Islands by Russian officials, Suga stressed that "decisions will be made on the basis of different factors."
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".
During a working trip along Russia’s Far East, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry 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. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said trips of the Russian government to the Kuril Islands will continue despite Tokyo’s position.