Russian Foreign Minister is surprised by Japanese Ambassador’s statements

The statement made by Japanese Ambassador to Russia Minoru Tamba and reported in Japan's media that Moscow and Tokyo are discussing the possibility of the transfer of Iturup and Kunashir (two of the four southern Kuril Islands Russia has held since the end of WWII) to Japan is not accurate. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov dismissed these reports while in Kharkiv on Friday, saying he does not know on what Tamba's statement was based, Interfax reports. The upcoming Russian-Japanese summit in Irkutsk on March 25 will address the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, in particular peace treaty and border issues, Ivanov said. It is not usual in diplomatic practice for ambassadors to comment on future talks before national leaders, he added.