MOSCOW, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Japanese government intends to present a letter of protest to the Russian government due to the Russian President's Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov's visit to the disputed islands, Kyodo news agency reported citing the sources in the diplomatic circles.
The letter of protest may be presented to the Russian government today, the agency says.
Sergei Ivanov has arrived to the Iturup Island earlier today, has inspected the recently opened airport and has talked to its employees. The Chief of Staff has also visited the Kitovyi port station where he was introduced to the problem of abandoned vessels disposal.
Earlier this week, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga expressed disappointment with the opening of a new airport on the island, while emphasizing that this fact did not exclude the possibility of holding high-level talks between the two countries.
Japan and Russia never signed a permanent peace treaty following the end of hostilities in World War II because of a disagreement over four islands, which Russia calls the Southern Kurils and Japan calls the Northern Territories. The disputed islands — Iturup, Kunashir, Kunashirand Habomai — were given to Soviet forces at the end of World War II and are still claimed by Japan.
Russia believes that the resolution of the Kuril Islands issue must be acceptable to both parties and based on the recognition of results of World War II under the UN Charter.