Japan's foreign minister said Thursday that Tokyo's claim over the disputed Kuril islands remains "absolutely unwavering" despite Russia's decision to boost its military presence on the territory.
Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, who is due to visit Moscow from Friday, said Russia's occupation of the islands is illegal and shrugged off President Dmitry Medvedev's order the previous day to deploy extra weaponry there, AFP says.
On Wednesday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that Russia will increase its military presence on the disputed Islands.
Maehara will visit Russia on Friday and meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss international and economic cooperation between the two countries.
"It's important to promote Japanese-Russian relations," Maehara said. "It would be good to solve the territorial issue and sign a peace treaty," he said, RIA Novosti reports.