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Russia deploys missiles on Northern Territories

20161128 morning3All Wednesday papers reported that the Russian military has deployed two types of surface-to-ship missiles on the islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu off Hokkaido, noting that Moscow apparently intends to move forward with the militarization of the Northern Territories irrespective of rapprochement with Japan and the election of Trump. The papers said the move may be based on the judgment that the disputed islands are a critical platform for territorial defense in the Asia-Pacific.


In a related development, Saturday morning’s Asahi and Tokyo Shimbun wrote that Defense Minister Inada commented during a Lower House Security Committee meeting on Friday on Russia’s deployment of missiles in the Northern Territories by saying that in theory Abashiri and other areas in northeastern Hokkaido fall within the range of the missiles. Inada also said the deployment is probably intended to support activities in waters from the Russian Far East to Hokkaido by the Russian Pacific Fleet, including nuclear-powered submarines in the Sea of Okhotsk.

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