Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said Thursday that despite Russia’s efforts to boost its military presence on disputed islands it holds off Hokkaido, they remain Japanese territory from the standpoint of international law.

‘‘No matter how many VIPs go or how much they strengthen their military presence, the view based on international law remains quite unchanged that (the islands) are originally Japanese territory,’’ Maehara said at a news conference.

Maehara, who is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Friday, was referring to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s order Wednesday to consolidate his country’s military presence on the Kuril Islands, which include the disputed islands claimed by Japan.

‘‘The Russian occupation has no basis in international law,’’ Maehara added.

His comments came after Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich on Wednesday told a news conference that ‘‘extremely unfriendly remarks by the Japanese leadership have considerably damaged’’ the atmosphere for Japan-Russia dialogue over the dispute.

The Russian official’s comment was apparently directed at remarks by Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who said this week that Medvedev’s visit to one of the four Russian-held islands last November was an ‘‘unforgivable outrage.’‘

Later Thursday, Kan voiced hope that the foreign ministers will be ‘‘strongly motivated’’ to turn their talks on Friday into a fruitful meeting.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said at a separate news conference that Japan will keep an eye on Russian military moves near its territory because they have been more active than before.

Meanwhile, the Russian official served notice to Japan ahead of the meeting between the foreign ministers, saying, ‘‘I hope the Japanese side changes its stance toward Russia fundamentally.’‘

A Japanese government source said Thursday that during Maehara’s upcoming visit, Japan and Russia are expected...