NHK reported that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov held an online New Year’s press conference on Monday and referred to the GOJ’s plan to build two new Aegis-equipped vessels as an alternative to the land-based Aegis Ashore missile defense system. Lavrov reportedly expressed concern that missiles fired from the ships would be able to reach a sizable portion of Russian territory. He also reportedly said Japan’s deepening of its alliance with a nation that views Russia as an enemy is creating an unusual situation, expressing the view that Russia continues to closely monitor U.S.-Japan relations and place importance on resolving security concerns in order to move forward with the peace treaty talks.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Kishi told the press today: “Aegis-equipped vessels are necessary equipment for missile defense as an alternative to the Aegis Ashore system. It’s only natural for us to strengthen the defense of our nation.”