Tokyo summons Russia envoy over Medvedev Kurils visit: Jiji

TOKYO, Nov 1, 2010 (AFP) - Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara summoned Russian ambassador Mikhail Bely over President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the disputed Kuril Islands Monday, Jiji Press reported.

"I told him that it is Russia's domestic issue. I requested Japan to deal with it cool-headedly and in a balanced manner," Bely told reporters after meeting with Maehara, according to Jiji.

The Kuril Islands, which lie north of Japan's Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War II, but Tokyo claims the southernmost four as Japanese territory.

Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Medvedev's visit to a disputed islet in the Kurils on Monday was "very regrettable".

"As Japan has kept its position that the four northern islands belong to Japanese territory, the president's visit there is very regrettable," Kan told parliament, referring to Medvedev's arrival at Kunashiri island on Monday.

Maehara said Monday the visit "hurts Japanese public sentiment and is extremely regrettable," adding that he will investigate the facts about the visit.

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