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TOKYO, January 13. /TASS/. The Japanese government continues closely following the construction of military infrastructure on the Kuril Islands, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday.
"We are closely following Russia’s actions in this sphere," he said. However, he did not provide a direct response when asked whether the Japanese government voice a protest to the Russian side. "Northern territories [South Kurils] are ours, and the Japanese government will continue consistently communication this position to the Russian side," Suga said.
Suga’s statements come after the remarks made by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu who said on Tuesday that it is necessary to finish equipping military facilities on Arctic islands and construct military infrastructure on the Kurils by the end of this year.
"Basically, it is necessary to complete everything on the islands. Then we proceed to the second stage of the construction and creation of our bases in the Arctic," Shoigu said. "This year we should complete the formation of the whole infrastructure on the Kuril Islands," the minister added.
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.