News / Asia

Russian President's Visit to Disputed Islands Sparks Japanese Anger

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, visits an unidentified Russian family in the town of Yuzhnokurilsk, at the Pacific Island of Kunashir, Russia, 01 Nov 2010
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, visits an unidentified Russian family in the town of Yuzhnokurilsk, at the Pacific Island of Kunashir, Russia, 01 Nov 2010

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has visited an island chain claimed by Moscow and Tokyo, sparking sharp criticism from Japan.  He is the first Russian president to visit one of the disputed Kurile Islands.

Russia and Japan each claim the four islands known as Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.  The Soviet Union seized the islands after declaring war on Japan at the end of World War II, forcing more than 15,000 Japanese residents to flee the area.

The territorial dispute prohibited the two countries from signing a formal peace treaty.

Mr. Medvedev said he visited the islands because he was interested in seeing how residents on the southernmost isle of Kunashir live.  

He says, he wants to make sure that the leading social standards, on the islands, coincide with Russian standards throughout the country and that it is important that there are specialists and doctors in the area.

If the Kurile Islands were returned to Japan, the country would gain rich fishing grounds. The area is close to oil and gas regions in Russia. The islands stretch from Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula to about 15 kilometers from Japan's northern island of Hokkaido.  

Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan was not happy with Mr. Medvedev's visit.

He says Japan has been consistent in its stance that the four northern islands are Japanese territory. He says he thinks it is regrettable that the president decided to visit the area.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshito Sengoku says Japan will monitor Russia's actions and comments in regard to the unwelcomed visit.

He says it is necessary for Japan to see exactly what sort of comments Russia and the government make, and to decide upon an appropriate response.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashed out at Japan's reaction to Mr. Medvedev's visit.

He says the reaction from the Japanese on President Medvedev's visit to the Kurile Islands was unacceptable. He says it is Russia's land.

Mr. Medvedev is to visit Japan this month for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders' summit.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid