Asahi wrote that Russian Defense Minister Shoigu announced on Wednesday a plan to deploy a military division to the Kuril Islands, including the Northern Territories, by the end of 2017. Shoigu told the Russian parliament that the military plans to complete beefing up the Kurils’ defenses by the end of this year by deploying the division. The paper wrote that the announcement verified Russia’s long-term plan to establish military bases on the Kuril Islands, noting that Russia deployed land-to-air missiles on Etorofu and Kunashiri islands, which are part of the Northern Territories, last year. Japanese Ambassador to Moscow Kozuki told a press conference on Wednesday that Russia’s military deployment to the Northern Territories runs counter to Japan’s position. Yomiuri and Sankei ran similar stories.