Medvedev Visits One of 4 Islands Disputed with Japan


Moscow, Aug. 2 (Jiji Press)--Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday visited one of the four northwestern Pacific islands at the center of a longstanding territorial dispute between Tokyo and Moscow, Russian news agency Tass reported.

The visit to the island, Etorofu, as it is called in Japan, came in spite of the Japanese government's strong call for him to refrain from taking the move, again showing Russia's determination of making no concessions on the territorial issue, pundits said.

The development looks certain to adversely affect the bilateral relationship, putting Japan in a more difficult position and dampening its efforts to make progress in negotiations on the conclusion of a World War II peace treaty between the two countries, they said.

The four islands, known collectively as the Northern Territories in Japan, were seized from the country by the former Soviet Union at the end of the war. The territorial dispute has prevented Tokyo and Moscow from concluding a peace treaty to formally end their wartime hostilities.

Etorofu, with an area of 3,168 square kilometers, is the largest of the four. The other three islands are known as the Habomais, Shikotan and Kunashiri in Japan.

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