Japan protests Russian defense minister's visit to disputed islands

09:37, February 05, 2011      

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The Japanese government on Friday protested against Russian defense chief's tour to Russian-held islands off Hokkaido claimed by Japan.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said on Friday that Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's visit to the islands was " extremely regrettable."

Japan lodged a complaint with Russia over the official's inspection Friday of the islands.

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said Jiro Kodera, director general of the Foreign Ministry's European Affairs Bureau, summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan Mikhail Bely and lodged "a strong protest," according to Kyodo News report.

Serdyukov's one-day trip was the latest of a string of visits to the disputed islands by high-ranking officials of Russia. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visited the Kunashiri Island, one of the islands, in last November.

Source: Xinhua
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