Yomiuri wrote on Saturday that Deputy Foreign Minister Mori held talks with his Russian counterpart in Tokyo on Friday on the Middle East situation and North Korea’s denuclearization. Mori apparently expressed concern over the Russian military’s operations in the vicinity of the Northern Territories, while the Russian official conveyed Moscow’s concern about Japan’s plan to deploy Aegis Ashore batteries.
Meanwhile, today’s Mainichi wrote that according to several sources involved in Russo-Japanese relations, Moscow has been asking Tokyo during their bilateral peace treaty talks to provide an assurance in writing that the “U.S. military in Japan would not pose a security threat to Russia” even if the four contested islands were returned to Japan. Russia also reportedly pressed Japan to acknowledge in writing that its occupation of the disputed territories after WWII was legitimate. The paper added in a separate piece that the alleged Russian demand for documenting these points reflects its concern about the U.S.-Japan alliance. While noting that Prime Minister Abe is anxious to conclude a bilateral peace treaty by resolving the territorial dispute before he steps down in September 2021, the daily wrote that the goal will be difficult to achieve because of Moscow’s tough stance.