Japan has rejected a proposal by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to create a joint economic zone on the disputed Kuril Islands, Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto said on Monday.
"The Northern Territories are our land. [Medvedev's proposal] does not suit the Japanese interests," Matsumoto said at a press conference in Tokyo commenting on the Russian president's statement, RIA Novosti informs.
"Our position is that the Northern Territories are an integral part of Japan. We cannot accept any idea that contravenes our stance," Matsumoto said.
In the interview, the Russian president reiterated Moscow's claim to the four islands, which are claimed by Japan.
The islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group were seized by the Soviet Union following Japan's surrender in World War II. They are known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kurils, Mainichi Daily News says.