Japan voices protest against Russia over plans to station division in the Kuril Islands

The Government of Japan has voiced protest over the Russian Defense Ministry’s plans to place a division in the Kuril Islands within the year. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga announced the official position at a press conference, reports Nikkei media outlet.

According to Suga, the strengthening of Russia's military presence on the Kuril Islands "is incompatible with the position of Japan." Suga also added that the issue would be discussed at a meeting of the foreign and defense ministers of Russia and Japan, which will be held in Tokyo in March.

The previous day, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu announced the formation of four new military divisions by the end of 2017. Three of them will be located along the western and southwestern borders, while the last will appear on the Kuril Islands.

In November, Russia placed its newest coastal missile complexes, the Bal coastal missile complex and the Bastion coastal defense missile system, on the Kuril Islands. The Bastion Complex is located on the island of Iturip, while the Bal complex is located on Kunashir.

Japan has promised to respond to the deployment of Russian missiles in the Kuril Islands. Further, Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that to solve "such problems, you need to first solve the problem of the northern territories."

  Russia, Japan, Kuril Islands, new divisions