TOKYO - Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said Tuesday he will head for Nemuro in Hokkaido Saturday to view four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan, known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.
"I hope to explain to former islanders what I discussed with the Russian foreign minister as well as the government's future policy of dealing with Russia, and hear what they think," Maehara told a press conference.
Maehara held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the issue of disputed islands on the sidelines of the APEC 2010 summit in Yokohama in November following Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's November 1 visit to the Kunashiri Island, one of the disputed islands.
Medvedev's visit sparked protests from the Japanese side. On November 2, Maehara announced the decision to recall its ambassador to Russia Masaharu Kono temporarily.
And Nemuro Mayor Shunsuke Hasegawa and representatives of former islanders asked Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Maehara to visit the Hokkaido city to view the disputed islands.