• Kyodo

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Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev indicated Thursday he plans to inspect economic development on some of the Kuril Islands, including the four claimed by Japan.

The inspection may be designed to demonstrate Russia’s effective control of the four islands, which were occupied by Soviet forces following Japan’s surrender in World War II on Aug. 15, 1945.

Earlier in the day, the Russian government approved a 10-year plan to develop the Kuril Islands, which stretch about 1,300 km from Hokkaido to Kamchatka. Medvedev said the government will spend 70 billion rubles (¥149.4 million) on the plan.

Medvedev, who served as the country’s president from 2008 to 2012, visited Kunashiri among the four Japan-claimed isles in November 2010, becoming the first Russian president to visit the disputed territory, which is called the Northern Territories by Japan.