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5. Moscow protesters oppose possible island handover

Protesters rallied in Moscow against the possible handover of Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.

About 1,000 people gathered on Sunday in response to a call by opposition parties.

The rally comes ahead of a summit between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Abe and Putin agreed in November to accelerate negotiations toward a peace treaty based on a 1956 joint declaration.

The declaration said Russia would hand over two of the four islands claimed by Japan after a peace treaty is signed.

A senior member of a political group critical of the Putin administration said the two leaders may have already secretly agreed on the handover of some of the islands, and called on people to oppose the move.

One woman said Russia should not negotiate on the matter, and that it is out of the question to compromise.

Demonstrators shouted that what the Russians call the Kuril Islands -- which include the four islands -- are Russian territory.

Japan maintains the islands are an inherent part of its territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.
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