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Japan Warns Russia Against Visits To Disputed Islands

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his visit to Kunashiri Island, one of four island known as the Kuriles
Japan warned Russia today against more visits to a group of disputed North Pacific islands after President Dmitry Medvedev traveled to one of the isles this week, sparking a diplomatic row.

The islands, known as the Kurile Islands in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan, are claimed by both countries.

Japan has temporarily recalled its ambassador from Moscow after Medvedev's visit.

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said today Tokyo has conveyed its position to Moscow that "the Northern Territories are Japanese territory."

Russia said on November 2 that Medvedev planned more trips to islands seized by the Soviet Union from Japan at the end of World War II.

Maehara, however, said he still hoped to meet his Russian counterpart on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Japan next week.