Russia has started military exercises involving more than 1,000 personnel near Japan's Hokkaido on Japanese-claimed islands that are part of what Tokyo calls the "Northern Territories", the Russian defence ministry announced on April 1.
About 200 anti-tank missiles, along with self-propelled artillery and drones, are said to have been deployed on the islands of Kunashiri and Etorofu in the “Northern Territories”, which were occupied by Russia after World War II.
On March 25, Russia had also announced the start of military exercises with more than 3,000 personnel in the area. Those exercises took place on Japanese-claimed islets in the “Northern Territories” and also in Russia’s own Chishima archipelago, also known as the Kuril Islands.
Russia opposes the sanctions that Japan has imposed over its “special military operation” in Ukraine. It is believed that Moscow might increase military exercises in the “Northern Territories” in response.
Following the start of the operation, Russia issued a list of “unfriendly” countries that included Japan, the US and European nations. On March 21, Moscow also announced the suspension of peace treaty negotiations between Russia and Japan in retaliation for the sanctions.
THE YOMIURI SHIMBUN (JAPAN)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK