Jiji Press MOSCOW (Jiji Press) — Russia refrained from conducting its Vostok 2018 military drill on the northern territories last month in line with a Japanese proposal, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Monday.
Shoigu made the remark at a meeting in Moscow with Adm. Katsutoshi Kawano, chief of staff of the Self-Defense Forces’ Joint Staff.
Days before the exercise began on Sept. 11, a top Russian military official said the drill would not be conducted on the islands.
The northern territories were seized from Japan by Soviet troops near the end of World War II.
Russia proposed that Japan participate in the exercise, which was one of the largest Russian military drills in the post-Cold War period, as an observer, but Japan did not take part, according to Shoigu.
Foreign Minister Taro Kono said his country did not send any observer because of its concerns about the possibility that the islands might be included in the area where the exercise would take place.
But the islands were excluded from the area, Kono said, adding that he highly evaluates Russia’s decision.