MOSCOW, October 15 (RIA Novosti) - The results of the work aimed at developing the infrastructure of the Kuril Islands are clear and positive, Russian presidential administration chief Sergei Ivanov said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper Wednesday.
Speaking about the Kuril Islands' Federal Target Program for development, Ivanov said its "first stage is over, and I went to inspect [the results]. The results are obvious. An airport was built, the roads were built."
According to Ivanov, before the development program was initiated, there was nothing done to improve the infrastructure of the islands: there were no roads, no airport, no berths, no hospitals and no schools.
Ivanov also commented on the reaction of the Japanese authorities to his visit to the disputed islands, saying that their reaction was surprising, as he was visiting one of his country's regions.
"This careful attention to my visit to the Kuril Islands even surprised me a bit. It was the fourth time I went there. I am not making it in secrecy, not as a spy. I travel to my own country. And I think it is right and necessary," the head of the Russian presidential administration said.
In late September, Ivanov visited the island of Iturup. He inspected the recently opened airport and spoke to its employees. He also visited the Kitovyi port station where he was introduced to the problem of the disposal of abandoned vessels.
After Ivanov's visit to the disputed island, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed disappointment with the opening of a new airport on the island.
Japan and Russia never signed a permanent peace treaty following the end of hostilities in World War II because of a disagreement over four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories. The disputed islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai — were given to Soviet forces at the end of World War II and are still claimed by Japan.