Medvedev May Visit Japan - Claimed Island

Medvedev may visit Japan-claimed island

Sources say Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev plans to visit one of the four Russian-controlled islands that Japan claims.

Officials in Etorofu Island say Medvedev is making arrangements to visit the island via Sakhalin as early as August, and that local officials are making preparations.

They say the Prime Minister is considering inspecting a seafood processing factory and a hot spring facility. He may also check on the progress of the construction of schools and roads.

It would be the fourth visit to the Russian-controlled islands by Medvedev. In 2010 while president, he became the first Russian leader to visit one of the four islands.

Russia controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.

In June of this year, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin met on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan.

They agreed to promote bilateral negotiations toward a peace treaty based on a 1956 joint declaration. The declaration states that Russia will hand over two of the four islands after a peace treaty is concluded.

Observers say Medvedev is likely to indicate a desire to develop Etorofu Island, which is not mentioned in the declaration, under Russia's sovereignty.