Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida left Japan on Thursday for a three-day trip to Russia to make final preparations for an upcoming summit between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Japan, the Foreign Ministry said. With a decades-old territorial dispute over Russian-held, Japanese-claimed islands on the agenda, Kishida will, in a rare move, meet Putin on Friday in St. Petersburg at the request of Tokyo, according to the Ministry. He will also meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Saturday in Moscow.
On Friday, Japanese Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, affirmed, in response to a question from a legislator, that Japan has lodged a protest against Russia’s deployment of anti-ship missiles in the southern Kurils. Japan’s Prime Minister Sindzo Abe expressed regret about the deployment of the Russian anti-ship missiles. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said that the placement of missile systems in the Kurils was a well-founded move and should not affect negotiations with Tokyo, including those on a future peace treaty. According to Maria Zakharova, Russian Foreign Minister’s spokeswoman, the deployment of the missile system Bastion in the southern Kuril islands is expected to strengthen the national security, so it would not be a threat to stability in the region.