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Japan's Defense Ministry collecting data on Russian construction activity on Kuril Islands

December 04, 2015, 9:48 UTC+3 TOKYO
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Russia would put up 392 buildings and facilities on Iturup and Kunashir islands of the Great Kuril Ridge
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Sergeyev

TOKYO, December 4. /TASS/. The Japanese Defense Ministry is collecting information about Russia’s construction activities on the Kuril Islands, Defense Minister Gen Nakatini told a press conference on Friday.

"It is untypical that the statement (of Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu) names the concrete area and the number of buildings. We will continue collecting information about these activities and what aim they intend to reach," Nakatini said.

On December 1 Shoigu told a session with the Armed Forces’ senior commanders that Russia’s special construction agency Spetsstroi will put up some 400 buildings and facilities on Iturup and Kunashir islands of the Great Kuril Ridge. "A total of 392 buildings and facilities are to be put up. Only advanced pre-fabricated structures easy to assemble will be used," Shoigu said.

The yet-to-be build garrisons will boast advanced infrastructures, including childcare centers, schools, rest and leisure facilities and hostels. Shoigu said the amount of building materials already delivered to both islands was enough to keep construction work going throughout the winter season.

In 2015, the main efforts were focused on completing the construction of top priority facilities and engineering infrastructures. "This will allow for the proper accommodation of personnel and military hardware and for making it operational," the defense minister said.

Territorial dispute over Kuril Islands

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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