Russia invites Japanese ambassador to comment on the disputed islands

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Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that it had called on the Japanese ambassador in Moscow to complain about what it said was Tokyo’s criticism bordering on an effort to interfere with Russia’s national affairs.

Earlier this month, Tokyo called on Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to visit one of four islands that Japan and Russia claimed to be highly regrettable and encouraged Moscow to take positive measures to advance connections.

Japan argues that the islands are called the Northern Territories, while Russia, which regulates them, calls them the Southern Kuriles.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said it was inappropriate to comment on Japan’s actions on its sovereign territory. It said it also handed over a note of protest to the Japanese ambassador about what it said were violations of a visa-free exchange system linked to the disputed islands.

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