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International relations

Russia PM to visit northern island claimed by Japan

Mishustin would follow Medvedev's 2019 trip to Northern Territories

Dmitry Medvedev, then the prime minister of Russia, visits the island of Iturup -- part of the islands known as the Northern Territories in Japan -- in August 2019.   © Reuters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin plans to visit one of the Moscow-controlled, Tokyo-claimed islands within the next two days for the first time after last July's constitutional amendment barring the country from ceding territory to a foreign power, Russian officials said Sunday.

The planned visit to Etorofu Island by Mishustin, second in power after President Vladimir Putin, on Monday or Tuesday, will also be the first trip to the disputed isles by the prime minister since his predecessor Dmitry Medvedev's visit in August 2019.

Putin said Friday he told Mishustin prior to the premier's trip to the Russian Far East to pay extra attention to the isles, adding Mishustin made a good proposal on the joint economic activities by Japan and Russia on the four islands known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.

The two countries have agreed to carry out joint economic projects on the islands in such areas as aquaculture, wind power and waste reduction as a trust-building exercise.

The dispute over the islands -- Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group -- seized by the Soviet Union after Japan's surrender in World War II in 1945 has prevented the two countries from concluding a postwar peace treaty.

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