Japan summons the Russian ambassador to protest the visit of the Prime Minister of Russia to the Japanese Islands.
On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin visited Pacific Islands claimed by Japan, leading Tokyo officials to call Russia’s ambassador to complain.
On the islands, Japan is considering establishing an economic zone. Mishustin paid a visit to the Kuril Islands as part of a tour of Russia’s Far East and Siberia this week.
In protest over Mishustin’s visit to the island of Iturup, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Takeo Mori summoned Russian Ambassador Mikhail Galuzin.
According to the Russian embassy in Japan, Galuzin said the protest was “inappropriate in light of the fundamental position of the Russian side” on the southern Kuril Islands, which “went to our country lawfully following the results of World War II.”
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On Iturup, one of the four southernmost Kuril islands, Mishustin visited a hospital and a fish processing plant. He informed workers at the company that the Russian government is considering establishing a special economic zone on the islands, where businesses and investors would be exempt from most taxes and customs fees.
The proposal under consideration by Russian officials “could be a fantastic option for investors, including those from the West, as well as for Japan, which, if interested, can create jobs here,” Mishustin added. He went on to say that “this particular regime will allow the islands’ economic activity to intensify.”
Mishustin stated that he would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the project. Putin requested Prime Minister Abe to “pay special attention” to the Kuril Islands during his trip to the Far East on Friday, stressing that Moscow has been working with “Japanese partners…to establish the necessary conditions for those engaged in economic activity.”
Japan claims sovereignty over the islands it refers to as the Northern Territories. They were captured by the Soviet Union in the final days of World War II, and the issue has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty that would officially end their hostilities.
Decades of diplomatic efforts to reach an agreement have yielded no noticeable results.
During his nearly eight years in government, former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe put in a lot of time and effort in the hopes of reaching an agreement, but he made little progress.
Newly elected Japanese officials took office in September of last year. This is a condensed version of the information.