Russia has announced the deployment of advanced air defense missiles in the disputed Kuril Islands.
The press service of the Russian Eastern Military District said in a statement that the S-300B4 anti-aircraft missile systems were put on combat duty in the Kuril Islands in addition to the short-range Tor M2 missile systems stationed there.
The Zvezda (Star)TV channel of the Russian Defense Ministry reported that anti-aircraft missile systems are located on the island of Iturup, one of the four largest southern Kuril Islands.
Zvezda states that missiles were deployed ostensibly to protect the air borders of the Russian Federation.
The Japanese government issued a protest note after Russia deployed new S-300B4 missile defense systems to the disputed islands, said the Chief Secretary of the Japanese Cabinet of Ministers Katsunobu Kato.
Russia and Japan have not yet concluded a peace treaty to resolve territorial dispute over the Kuril after World War II. Japan claims the southern part of the Kuril archipelago (Iturup Islands, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai Ridge), which came under Soviet control in 1945, and rejects proposals to conclude a peace treaty without preconditions. Russia insists on its sovereignty over these territories.
In November 2018, after a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, it became known that Japan is ready to come back to the Soviet–Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. In it, the USSR agreed to hand over to Japan two islands - Habomai and Shikotan - after the signing of the peace treaty.
In January 2019, another round of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took place in Moscow. After the talks, the Kremlin said it "has not yet observed any changes in Japan's position."