Japan, Russia agree to discuss territorial dispute in ‘quiet atmosphere’

The leaders of Japan and Russia agreed Saturday that the two countries will discuss a bilateral territorial dispute "in a quiet atmosphere."

In a meeting held prior to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit in Hawaii, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed the need to solve the territorial issue before signing a peace treaty, a senior Japanese official said.

Medvedev invited Noda to Russia. The Japanese leader said he appreciates the invitation and will study it, according to the official.

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Japan slams Russian military build-up on islands

Japan on Wednesday branded Russias plans to deploy anti-ship cruise missiles on disputed islands off Tokyos northern frontier "very deplorable".

Vice-foreign ministers from the two countries met in Tokyo for a regular "strategic dialogue" to discuss ties strained by the territorial row over the Kurils that has been unresolved since World War II.The meeting came a day after Russias Interfax news agency reported Moscow was planning to deploy additional weaponry including anti-ship cruise missiles and air defences on the disputed islands

."Russias military build-up on the four northern islands is totally incompatible with our countrys position and it is very deplorable," Japans top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, told a regular news briefing.

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Japan Protests Medvedev Visit to Disputed Kunashiri Island

Japan’s prime minister strongly protested Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to a disputed island and said in a meeting on the sidelines of a Pacific Rim leaders’ conference Saturday that the two nations must build mutual trust.

Medvedev reportedly responded that he will return to the island whenever he pleases.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan told Medvedev that the Nov. 1 visit was unacceptable and inflamed the feelings of the Japanese people, Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama said. Kan said the two nations, which have never signed a treaty formally ending their World War II hostilities because of the territorial dispute, must work to develop trust.

The talks Saturday — which Japanese officials said began in a "tense mood" — were their first since Medvedev’s trip to the island, known as Kunashiri in Japan and Kunashir in Russia. Russia captured the island and several others in the closing days of World War II.

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