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    Police halt unsanctioned protest outside Japanese embassy in Moscow

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    Police in Moscow prevented an unsanctioned rally on Monday outside the Japanese embassy, in possible connection with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the disputed Kuril Islands earlier in the day.

    Police in Moscow prevented an unsanctioned rally on Monday outside the Japanese embassy, in possible connection with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the disputed Kuril Islands earlier in the day.

    One protester was detained by officers on patrol at the embassy when five young people attempted to gather at the embassy in downtown Moscow at 4 pm Moscow time (13:00 GMT).

    Medvedev sparked a diplomatic row with Japan when he visited Kunashir Island, near Japan's northernmost Hokkaido Island.

    The visit was the first trip by a head of state of Russia or the former Soviet Union to the South Kuril Islands. The Soviet Union seized four of the Kuril Islands (Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and Habomai) from Japan at the end of World War II and Tokyo has demanded their return ever since. The dispute has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a formal peace treaty.

    Japan said the move was "regrettable," and had "hurt the Japanese people's sentiments."

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that he saw "no connection" between the trip and Russian-Japanese relations.

    MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) 

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