All national dailies reported on the Japan-Russia 2+2 meeting of foreign and defense ministers that was held in Tokyo on Thursday. The papers wrote that the differences between the two nations were not narrowed. Yomiuri wrote that the Russian side insisted that Japan’s deployment of the U.S.-made missile defense system poses a threat to Russia’s national security. However, the Japanese side argued that the deployment is only intended to increase Japan’s defense capabilities and will not pose a threat to Russia. In response to Japan’s concern over Russia’s military buildup in the Northern Territories, Russia insisted that it is conducting military activities on islands that belong to Russia. Nikkei wrote that although Japan had hoped that its security cooperation with Russia would help build trust between the two nations in resolving the territorial dispute, Russia apparently tried to rattle the U.S.-Japan alliance.
The papers also wrote that Tokyo and Moscow agreed to closely work together for the denuclearization of the DPRK. However, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said at a post-meeting press conference that it is necessary to take a step-by-step approach to Pyongyang. Yomiuri speculated that Japan briefed Russia on Prime Minister Abe’s plan to visit Iran in June.