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    Japan sacks ambassador to Russia over Medvedev's visit to Kurils

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    The Japanese government has decided to fire its ambassador to Russia for failure to timely inform Tokyo about the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to one of the four disputed Kuril Islands in November.

    The Japanese government has decided to fire its ambassador to Russia for failure to timely inform Tokyo about the visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to one of the four disputed Kuril Islands in November.

    During a meeting on Wednesday, the government concluded that Japan's diplomatic mission in Russia, headed by Ambassador Masaharu Kono, misled the Japanese Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister Naoto Kan by reporting that the Russian president did not plan to visit southern Kurils.

    This failure prevented Japanese authorities from promptly assessing the situation and taking appropriate steps, the Yomiuri daily said, citing official sources.

    Kono will be most likely replaced by current Japanese Ambassador to the Czech Republic Chikahito Harada, a veteran expert on Russia.

    Medvedev's visit to Kunashir Island infuriated Japanese politicians, but the Kremlin said the Russian president could travel freely around his own country, and does not have to share his travel plans with anybody.

    Both Japan and Russia have laid claims to the islands since they were annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. The dispute over the islands has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty to formally end World War II hostilities.

    TOKYO, December 23 (RIA Novosti)

     

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