Japan upset by Russian visit to disputed island
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan voiced disappointment Monday over a senior Russian politician's visit to an island claimed by both nations, weeks after President Dmitry Medvedev did the same.
Russia's First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov went to Kunashir island, one of the four Kuril Islands that are claimed by Japan in a dispute that has prevented the signing of a post-war peace treaty, according to the ITAR-TASS news agency.
"It is very regrettable," Kan told reporters, adding that the Japanese foreign ministry had made a protest over the visit to the Russian ambassador in Tokyo.
The visit risks further eroding ties between Tokyo and Moscow which were hit after Medvedev visited the island on November 1 in the first visit by a Russian leader to the territory when he pledged new investment for the islands.
The Kuril Islands, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War II, but Tokyo claims the southernmost four as Japanese territory.
© 2010 AFP