• JIJI, Staff Report

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The government has skirted a question about the possibility of sending Self-Defense Forces troops to four Russian-held isles off Hokkaido that are at the center of the two countries’ territorial dispute.

In a document adopted at a Cabinet meeting Friday, the government said it is not tackling the issue as a matter that involves the SDF. The northwestern Pacific islands of Kunashiri, Etorofu, Shikotan and the Habomai group are referred to in Japan as the Northern Territories. They are known in Russia as the Southern Kurils.

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