TOKYO (Sputnik) — Inada said, commenting on the Russian defense minister's announcement of the division deployment plan, that it contradicted position of Tokyo, which considers the South Kuril Islands part of Japan.
"If the opportunity arises, I will hold negotiations with Mr. Shoigu for a frank discussion of a number of issues," Inada said, as quoted by the media.
On February 17, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida agreed at the meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit to hold consultations in the "2+2" format, involving the defense and foreign ministers, in Tokyo on March 20.
The Kuril Islands, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, are the subject of the long-standing territorial dispute between Moscow and Tokyo. Japan lays claim to Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan islands and the Habomai group of islets. The territorial dispute has prevented Russia and Japan from signing a peace treaty after World War II.