Russia has dismissed Japan’s protest over a Russian minister travelling to Kunashir Island in Kuril Islands archipelago. Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov has said that Russian ministers are free to travel anywhere along the Russian territory for performing their duties.

Sokolov said Monday that Russian ministers do not need permission from foreign countries for such reasons. The Japanese foreign ministry earlier protested over the Russian minister’s trip to the disputed land.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in July that he had plans to visit the Kuril Islands. He said that other Russian ministers should also visit the islands. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida made a request to Medvedev through the Japanese Embassy in Moscow to cancel the trip, TASS reported.

Alexander Galushka, the minister for the development of the Russian Far East, said that Russia wanted to use foreign funds to form a special economic zone in the northern territories. According to The Japan News, Moscow apparently wants to establish its “effective control” of the territories with the help of the social infrastructure.

Galushka said that the formation of a special economic zone was part of a development plan for the Kuril Islands. The plan is set to be implemented during 2016-2025.

According to Galushka, Russian ministers related to the Russian Far East would work on the plan. He stressed that the Russian government intended to manage large-scale development through different ministries.

Corporate and government representatives from China, South Korea and Japan attended an economic forum held by Russia in Vladivostok. More than a billion dollars will be spent for the Kuril development plan.