Monday, September 12, 2011

Japan regrets Russian official's recent trip to disputed isles - 12th Sept 2011

Top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura on Monday voiced regret over a recent trip made by a Russian official to disputed islands off Hokkaido.

"Our country considers a visit to the Northern Territories by a key Russian government official unacceptable," the chief Cabinet secretary said in a news conference, a day after Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev visited the islands of Kunashiri and the Habomai group of islets.

Tokyo and Moscow remain at odds over the sovereignty of the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri and Shikotan as well as the Habomai islet group, which Soviet troops seized at the end of World War II.

The row over the islands, known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kurils, has prevented the two nations from signing a postwar peace treaty.

Fujimura said Japan will convey its position to Russia and underscored the importance of negotiating "in good faith" to resolve the territorial issue.

Sunday's trip by Patrushev came at a time when Russia is intensifying activities in relation to the disputed islands. Last week, two Russian bombers flew near Japanese airspace, prompting Japan's foreign minister to ask Russia not to take "provocative" military actions. Source