Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Japan rejects Russia investment on disputed isles

Updated: 2011-02-12 09:39


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MOSCOW - Japan will protest any of Russia's development programs without Japan's permit on the disputed Northern Territories, which is called Southern Kurils in Russia, spokesman for the Japanese Foreign Ministry Satoru Sato said here on Friday.

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In a press conference, Sato stressed Japan also rejected Russia 's invitation to any third country to invest on the islands.

Echoing the visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, Sato said Japan agreed to cooperate with Russian on the islands, only if the cooperation "would not harm Japan's position on the basis of law."

"The Northern Territories are Japan's historic territories," he added.

Sato also said if Russian President Dmitry Medvedev continues to pay visit to the islands, that will be an "insult" to Japan.

"This kinds of actions will offend all the Japanese. Japan will inevitably lodge a protest," Sato said.

With regards to Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan's possible visit to Russia, Sato said no agenda has been set for such a visit.

Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with his visiting Japanese counterpart Maehara, but the two countries remained divided on the sovereignty over the disputed islands.

Russia and Japan have long been at odds over the sovereignty of the four Pacific islands.

Russian President Medvedev visited Kunashiri Island in November, becoming the first Russian leader to travel to any of the disputed islands. Japan temporarily recalled its ambassador from Moscow to protest Medvedev's visit.

On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan described Medvedev 's visit to the island of Kunashir "an unallowable affront."


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