Russia leader visits disputed isle, Tokyo protests

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
November 1, 2010 07:45

 
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TOKYO — Russia's president visited an island in the Pacific Ocean claimed by both Russia and Japan on Monday, triggering immediate protests from Tokyo, which is already involved in a heated dispute with China over islands to the south.

Japan's Foreign Ministry said President Dmitry Medvedev landed on Kunashiri Island, just off Japan's northern coast. The island, known in Russian as Kunashir, is part of a group of four claimed by both countries that Japan calls the Northern Territories and Russia calls the southern Kurils.

Medvedev is the first Russian president to visit the island.

"We have never changed our position that the Northern Territories are a part of our territory and the visit is very regrettable," Prime Minister Naoto Kan told a session of Parliament on Monday.

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