MOSCOW, August 25 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia has expressed bewilderment Tokyo has been using the situation following the salvation of a Japanese national for political purposes, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
“We cannot but express bewilderment the current strictly humanitarian topic related to the saving of a Japanese citizen in distress by Russian border guards is being used in Tokyo for political purposes and there were quick public demands for the early release of Keishuke Kuriyama with reference to unsubstantiated Japanese claims to the southern Kuril islands,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
“While staying certain it is unnecessary to enter into a public controversy, we would like to remind you that Russia’s sovereignty over the southern Kuril islands is perfectly legitimate and cannot be questioned,” the Foreign Ministry said.
On August 21 a frigate of the Sakhalin border guard department spotted a drifting rubber boat in Russian territorial waters near the island of Kunashir, the Sakhalin Region. The man who was found in the boat was raised on board and given the necessary assistance. The rescued man had a Japanese passport, issued in the name of Keishuke Kuriyama, born 1974, a resident of Okinawa prefecture. He found himself in the territorial waters of ·· Russia after his boat was carried by a strong current towards the Russian coast.
The Japanese national was taken to Yuzhno-Kurilsk. The border authorities did not detain him. On Thursday, after the established legislation procedures, required for the legal assessment of the incident and coordination with Japan Kuriyama was handed over to the curia of the Japanese Office of Safety at Sea on the edge of the territorial waters of Russia in the region of Kunashir.