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Japan protests Russian military drills on disputed islands


08-14-2014 10:36 BJT

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has voiced "strong protest" against Russia’s military exercises on disputed islands also claimed by Tokyo. The islands in the western Pacific, are known as the Southern Kurils in Russia, and the Northern Territories in Japan. 

"Carrying out these sorts of exercises by the Russian military in the Northern Territories is totally unacceptable. We will be protesting strongly through the Foreign Ministry." Shinzo Abe, Japanese Prime Minister, Said.

Russian troops began their drills on two of the disputed islands, Etorofu and Kunashiri, on Tuesday. Japan's Foreign Ministry called on Russia to cancel the drill. According to a spokesman for Russia’s Eastern Military District, more than one thousand troops, five attack helicopters, drones and one hundred other pieces of military hardware are involved in the drill. 

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the exercises are not a threat to any country, including Japan. The deputy director of the ministry’s information and press department, Maria Zakharova, said "Russia can choose by itself where to hold the drills within its own territory." 

The islands are located between the Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan’s second largest island, Hokkaido. Both Russia and Japan claim sovereignty over the four southern islets. 

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