Russia Names Islands Near Northern Territories

Russia names islands near Northern TerritoriesRussia has named islands in and around a group of islands known as the Northern Territories in Japan after military and other leaders from the Soviet era.
Russia controls the islands. Japan claims them. The Japanese government maintains that the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says they were illegally occupied after World War Two.

On Wednesday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed papers naming 5 uninhabited islands that Russia says were discovered by its survey team.

One near the island of Shikotan was named after a Soviet Union commander who occupied the islands.
Another near the Habomai islet group was named after a lieutenant general who signed Japan's surrender document at the end of World War Two.

The Russian government has been dispatching survey teams to areas near the Japanese-claimed islands since 2012 and giving Russian names to uninhabited islands in the area.

An official from the Russian province of Sakhalin told NHK that efforts are underway to draw up a detailed map of the region, including small islands and other areas, and that it will be presented to the international community.

The move is believed to be aimed at emphasizing that the Northern Territories belong to Russia.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan has lodged a protest through diplomatic routes.

Suga said some of the islands are inside Japan's Northern Territories. He said such moves run counter to Japan's position and are extremely regrettable.

Suga said the government will continue to negotiate with Russia under the policy of resolving the issue and signing a peace treaty.

He said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe feels strongly about negotiations because of these kinds of developments. He said it is why Abe met with Russian President Vladimir Putin.