Deputy Russian PM visits island claimed by Japan: report

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Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov on Monday visited one of the Pacific islands at the centre of a simmering territorial dispute with Japan, the ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

Shuvalov, the government's pointman on economic affairs, visited Kunashir island, one of the four Kuril Islands that are claimed by Japan in a dispute that has prevented the signing of a postwar peace treaty.

He was inspecting progress of a government programme to develop the islands through 2015 and said his mission had been personally ordered by President Dmitry Medvedev, ITAR-TASS said.

The visit risks further eroding ties between Tokyo and Moscow which were hit hard after Medvedev visited Kunashir on November 1 in the first visit by a Russian leader to the territory.

© 2010 AFP

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