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Japan protests Russia’s military drills in Northern Territories

NHK reported at noon that the Russian military announced it is conducting large-scale military drills on the islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri of the Northern Territories from June 23 to 27. The network said more than 10,000 soldiers, up to 500 military vehicles, about 30 airplanes, and about 10 vessels are expected to participate in the drills, adding that Russia’s military drills are intended to indicate that the Northern Territories belong to Russia and to keep the United States in check. MOFA reportedly told the network that the director of the Russia Division lodged a protest with the Russian Embassy in Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon. Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato told the press this morning: “We are closely monitoring and collecting information on the Russian military’s moves on the Northern Territories. We lodged a protest yesterday through our diplomatic channel saying that Russia’s military buildup on the Northern Territories, including such military drills, is incompatible with our position and unacceptable…. Although I am not in a position to comment on Russia’s intention to hold such drills, it is important to resolve the issue of the Northern Territories. The government will continue to tenaciously negotiate with Russia in line with the basic policy of resolving the territorial issue and concluding a peace treaty.”

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