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    A village in Yuzhno-Kurilsk on Kunashir Island of the Greater Kuril Ridge

    Japan Reportedly Plans to Lodge Protest to Russia

    © Sputnik / Ekaterina Chesnokova
    Asia & Pacific
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    TOKYO (Sputnik) - The Japanese government intends to issue a formal protest to Russia over the visit of several Russian officials to the disputed Kuril Islands, Kyodo reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed members of the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

    According to the media, the list of the officials included Special Presidential Representative for Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport Sergei Ivanov. The latter has already held multiple visits to the Kuril Islands, triggering Japan's protests in 2011 and 2014. His most recent visit started late last week.

    The ministry qualifies such visits as inconsistent with Japan's position on the Kuril Islands, the Kyodo news agency said.

    Earlier in the day, Ivanov ruled out that Russia could transfer the Kuril Islands to Japan for the sake of a peace treaty.

    READ MORE: Abe Calls Advancing Japanese-Russian Dialogue Tokyo's Top Priority

    Russian-Japanese relations have long been complicated by the fact that the two nations never signed a permanent peace treaty after the end of World War II. The deal was never reached because of a disagreement over a group of four islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai — that Russia has sovereignty over, but that are also claimed by Japan.

    Since Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Japan in December 2016, the relationship between the two nations has been improving, with the two sides agreeing to develop joint projects on the disputed territories.

    READ MORE: Japanese-Russian Peace Treaty Should Not Be Left for Next Generation — Abe

    During peace treaty talks with his Japanese counterpart in January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the sides had confirmed their willingness to work on the basis of the 1956 declaration, "which means, first of all, the inalterability of… Japan’s complete recognition of… Russia’s sovereignty over all the islands of the South Kuril ridge."

    READ MORE: Lavrov Meets Kono: Moscow to Continue Russia-Japan Peace Treaty Talks

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    protest, Kuril Islands, Russia, Japan
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