Russian Prime Minister Medvedev visited the Kuril Island of Kunashir on Tuesday to reinforce the Russian claim to the islands. They were occupied by Russia at the end of the second World War. Ever since Japan and Russia have been at loggerheads over the issue of ownership. Prior to his trip Medvedev said:“I’d like to underline that I consider visiting the Kurils by the Government of the Russian Federation crucially important. We have been doing it before and, naturally, this practice will be continued by the new Cabinet,” He said the islands ""] are an important part of the Sakhalin region and an important part of the Russian land.”
The Japanese Foreign Ministry expressed displeasure over Medvedev's visit. The Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs said that visit was unacceptable and the islands are an integral part of Japan. Medvedeve visited Kunashir earlier in 2010. Although Russia maintains it wants to maintain good relations with Japan it has also made it quite clear that it will not return the islands. In fact Russia has deployed defensive weapons to the islands. For more see this article.