MOSCOW, July 26. /TASS/. Japan’s protests over Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s trip to the Kuril Archipelago are counterproductive and pointless, since this is Russian territory, Chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky said Monday.
"This is yet another protest by Japan regarding the Prime Minister’s trip to the Kurils, which is a counterproductive and completely pointless step. The head of the government visited the territory of the Russian Federation," the lawmaker stressed.
He underscored that the "topic of the sovereignty of the Kurils" is closed, and its discussion "is unacceptable and directly contradicts the new, amended Russian Constitution."
"Russian sovereignty over the Kuril Islands cannot be challenged, and this position has repeatedly been relayed to our Japanese partners," Slutsky emphasized.
"Instead of voicing useless territorial claims, Japan should finally think about signing a peace treaty," the lawmaker said.
"Its absence does not correspond to the level of the Russian-Japanese relations. I believe Tokyo should move forward on this track instead of engaging in knee-jerk demarches," he noted.
"Besides, the agreement achieved by President Vladimir Putin and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe regarding the joint development of the four Kuril Islands remains in effect. Its further implementation could also help defuse the tensions," Slutsky concluded.
Prime Minister Mishustin’s tour of the Kurils
On Monday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin embarked on his working trip to the Far East and Siberia. His program began with visiting the Iturup Island of the Kuril Archipelago. President Vladimir Putin ordered him to pay special attention to the Kuril Islands. The head of state noted that Russia has been working on the creation of "necessary conditions for participants of economic activity" there for a long time. The head of state also announced "unique and unprecedented" measures on involving Japan in the economy of the Kurils. The final initiatives will be formulated after Mishustin’s trip is over.
On Monday, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said that Mishustin’s trip to Iturup "contradicts the Japanese government’s consecutive position on the Northern Territories and causes extreme regret." The high-ranking Japanese official added that Tokyo would continue to collect and analyze information about this trip.
Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Galuzin was summoned to the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Later, Galuzin told journalists that Moscow would not accept Tokyo’s protest over Mishustin’s trip.