Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he is indifferent to Japan’s reaction over his trip to one of the Kuril Islands earlier in the week.
Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned Russia’s ambassador in Tokyo and filed a protest over Medvedev’s trip to one of the disputed islands.
“As for the reaction of our Japanese partners, I do not care about it. I do not care about it so much that I will not be wasting my time answering this question,” Medvedev told journalists.
“What do we have to discuss with them? The issue of the Russian prime minister’s presence on the Russian territory? This all could go too far,” he added.
On Tuesday, Medvedev arrived in Kunashir, just north of Japan’s Hokkaido island, for his second trip to the disputed Kuril Islands, which the Soviet Union annexed after World War II. Japan claims Kunashir, Shikotan, the Habomai Islets and Iturup as its territory.
The Russian premier also said he regretted that not all journalists went with him to Kunashir this time and promised to take more the next time he pays a visit there.
“It turned out that not everyone got a chance to go to the Kuril Islands. I would like to say that the next time we go there we will try to gather all of you,” he told journalists at a news conference in Russia’s Far East.
Tokyo’s continued claim over the four southern Kuril Islands – known as the Northern Territories in Japan – has so far prevented Russia and Japan from signing a formal peace treaty to end World War II.
In 2010, Medvedev sparked a diplomatic row with Tokyo by making the first ever visit by a Russian leader to the islands. He later said Russia would increase its military presence there. Japan’s then prime minister Naoto Kan called Medvedev’s visit “inexcusable rudeness.”