Japanese FM snubs Russia's caution over islands dispute

08:16, February 16, 2011      

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Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Tuesday snubbed cautionary comments made by Sergei Naryshkin, chief of staff of the Russian Presidential Executive Office, over the disputed four islands off the northeast coast of Japan's Hokkaido Prefecture.

Addressing a news conference, Maehara said he told Naryshkin in Moscow that Japan felt "extreme regret" over visits by Medvedev and other Russian dignitaries to the disputed islands and that remarks by high-ranking officials that Russia will continue to control the area as its territory, were also "regrettable."

Maehara reiterated his view that the four islands in question are unequivocally an "integral part of Japan in terms of history and international law."

On Saturday Naryshkin told Meahara, who was on a visit in Moscow, that Tokyo's recent public statements over trips made by Russian leadership representatives to the disputed islands and Tokyo's continued unfounded territorial claims, coupled with the unacceptable anti-Russian performances of nationalist elements, " could not but meet with an adequate reaction of the Russian side."

Naryshkin was referring to comments made by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan last week describing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to one of the four disputed islands last November as "an unforgivable outrage."

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