02:13 GMT28 January 2020
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    Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada announced an intention on Friday to discuss with Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu Moscow's plan to deploy a military division on the Kuril Islands, Kyodo news agency reported.

    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 Wednesday, Shoigu announced a plan to deploy a division on the Kuril Islands in 2017 in the framework of the border protection measures. The following day Japan sent a note of protest against the move, while Moscow said it did not intend to use its division against Japan and was ready for military cooperation with Japan on the issue.

    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.

    Related:

    Tokyo's Protest Over Russia's Division on Kurils is Inappropriate – Russian MP
    Russia to Deploy Division on Kuril Islands in 2017
    Japan Lodges Protest Over Russia's Plan to Deploy Division on Kurils
    Tags:
    Tomomi Inada, Sergei Shoigu, Kuril Islands, Russia, Japan
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