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  Monday, January 25, 2021
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On September 2, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi plans to inspect the South Kuril Islands that Japan claims
The inspection will be made from a coast guard vessel, said a spokesman for the Japanese government. Before the official visit of President Vladimir Putin in the beginning of 2005, Tokyo is making every effort to speed up finding a solution to the territorial problem. This will be the third time that a Japanese prime minister will make an "inspection of the northern territories." Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki made one in September 1981 and Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori made one in April 2001. Both of the previous inspections were from a helicopter. Earlier, the prime minister considered a visit to the islands, but decided against it. On August 18, Russian Ambassador to Japan Alexander Losyukov said: "A visit by Prime Minister Koizumi to the islands would not have settled the dispute. On the contrary, it would have created new problems and been counterproductive for bilateral relations." According to a source in the chancellery of the Japanese prime minister, Mr. Koizumi plans a meeting with former residents of the South Kurils deported to Japan in 1945 after it was defeated in World War II. Takuzen Yamazaki, deputy chairman of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, said: "The prime minister really wants to see the Northern territories with his own eyes." Japan wants Russia to return of the South Kuril Islands Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai archipelago as a condition for normalizing bilateral relations.
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