Japan slams Russian military build-up on islands

Japan on Wednesday branded Russias plans to deploy anti-ship cruise missiles on disputed islands off Tokyos northern frontier "very deplorable".

Vice-foreign ministers from the two countries met in Tokyo for a regular "strategic dialogue" to discuss ties strained by the territorial row over the Kurils that has been unresolved since World War II.The meeting came a day after Russias Interfax news agency reported Moscow was planning to deploy additional weaponry including anti-ship cruise missiles and air defences on the disputed islands

."Russias military build-up on the four northern islands is totally incompatible with our countrys position and it is very deplorable," Japans top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, told a regular news briefing.

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Russia may deploy rockets on disputed islands

Russia will send new air defense systems, possibly including S-400 rockets, to islands at the center of a territorial dispute with Japan, RIA news reported on Tuesday, citing a General Staff source.

Russia, which occupied the four islands off Japan at the end of World War Two, has pressed its claim to the territory with plans to boost investment and its military presence.

"The division will be given a brigade of air defense troops," RIA quoted the General Staff source as saying.

The air defense systems will consist of short and long-range weapons, possibly including the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system, he said.

Read the rest of the story: Russia may deploy rockets on disputed islands: report | Reuters.

Russia and Japan still mincing words over islands

Russia and Japan were engaged in a heated war of words on Monday over a disputed island chain that the Kremlin vowed to keep forever despite the pressure from Tokyo.The deeply divisive issue flared again when Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan used a national remembrance day to call President Dmitry Medvedevs recent visit to the Kuril Islands — known as the Northern Territories in Japan — an "unforgivable outrage".Japans centre-left prime minister delivered his comments at a rally demanding the islands return — an event that received broad media play in Moscow because it featured the burning of a Russian tricolour flag.Russia delivered an immediate toughly-worded response to both the rallies and Kans address.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Japanese prime minister of pandering to nationalist interests and noted that any talks over the islands must be based on Tokyos "unconditional recognition of the outcome of World War II."

"These expressions are clearly undiplomatic," Lavrov said in reference to Kans comments.

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Russian Visit to disputed isles angers Japan

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in the Kuril Islands on Monday on the first visit by a Russian leader to territory at the heart of a decades-long dispute with Japan.

The trip, which comes ahead of Medvedev’s visit to Japan for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit later this month, immediately triggered the ire of Japan.

"As Japan has kept its position that the four Northern Islands belong to the Japanese territory, the president’s visit there is very regrettable," Japanese Prime Minster Naoto Kan told parliament shortly after Medvedev touched down.

Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara echoed the premier, saying the visit "hurts Japanese public sentiment and is extremely regrettable."

The Kremlin chief flew in to the island of Kunashir, in what analysts say was a deliberate signal to Japan that it is not willing to give up the four southernmost islands, which are home to about 19,000 people.

He snapped some pictures during a windswept and rainy visit to a pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and also inspected sites such as a geothermal energy station and a fish processing plant.

The Kuril Islands, a volcanic archipelago which lies north of Japan’s Hokkaido island, have been controlled by Moscow since they were seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War II.

Read the rest of the story: Russian president angers Japan with disputed isles visit – Yahoo! News.