Naoto Kan, Master of Diplomacy
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Monday as "not diplomatic" after Kan the same day called Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit last November to one of four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan an "unforgivable outrage."
The Soviet Union seized the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan and the Habomai islet group - known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in Russia as the Southern Kurils - shortly after Japan's surrender in World War II on Aug. 15, 1945. The territorial dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a postwar peace treaty.