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Soviets warn Japan on Kuriles recovery

The Soviet Union is ready to face Japan militarily if Tokyo tries to use force over four disputed north Pacific islands, a Russian general said. "We have to respond if Japan tries to settle [the issue] by force," Lt. Gen. Mikhail Kiriyan said in a newspaper interview here. The four southernmost islands of the Kurile chain are claimed by Japan but have been occupied by the Soviet Union since 1945 under what Moscow says are postwar international agreements.

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