04:17 GMT +315 December 2018
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    The coast of the Sea of Okhotsk near Cape Stolbchaty in the west of Kunashir Island of the Greater Kuril Ridge. Japan's Hokkaido Island at the background

    Protestors March in Tokyo Demanding Russia to Hand Over Kurils to Japan (PHOTOS)

    © Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova
    Asia & Pacific
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - About 500 people took part in a march in Tokyo on Saturday ahead of a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Buenos Aires, demanding Russia to transfer Southern Kuril Islands to Japan, local media reported.

    According to the NHK broadcaster, the demonstrators were mostly former Japanese residents of the disputed islands of Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai.

    The demonstration was attended by Mitsuhiro Miyakoshi, state minister in charge of Okinawa and Northern Territories, as the Japanese call Kuril Islands.

    "I will do my best to convey to the global community the unanimous primary position of our country on solving the problem of the Northern Territories and concluding a peace treaty," the minister told the broadcaster.

    READ MORE: Moscow's Lavrov Discusses Territorial Dispute With Tokyo Counterpart Kono

    The march was timed to the anniversary of the beginning of the movement for the "return" of the four islands to Japan on December 1, 1945.

    The peace treaty is expected to be discussed by Putin and Abe on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the capital of Argentina later on Saturday.

    The islands dispute has been souring relations between the two countries for decades and serves as the main stumbling block to signing a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II. Both countries claim a group of four islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai — referred to as the Southern Kurils by Russia and the Northern Territories by Japan.

    Related:

    Japan Submits Note of Protest to Russia Over Festivities in S Kurils – Official
    Japanese Lawmaker Reveals What Will Help to Resolve Kurils Issue
    Japan Lodges Protest With Russia Over Start of Drills on Kurils
    Tags:
    disputed islands, G20 summit, Vladimir Putin, Shinzo Abe, Japan, Russia, Kunashir Island
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