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TOKYO, March 17. /TASS/. The defense ministers of Japan and Russia, Tomomi Inada and Sergei Shoigu, will hold a bilateral meeting in Tokyo on March 20, Inada told reporters after a cabinet meeting Friday.
The meeting will precede the "two plus two" consultations of the two states’ defense and foreign ministers.
"I hope for a sincere exchange of opinions with the Russian defense minister," she said. "We need to encourage the dialogue on how to promote security with Russia, one of our most important neighbors."
The defense ministers’ meeting will coincide with a separate meeting of the Russian and Japanese top diplomats, Sergei Lavrov and Fumio Kishida. After the talks, the ministers will meet in the two plus two format for a discussion on international and bilateral issues.
The previous similar meeting was held in November 2013. After that, the meetings were suspended due to the crisis in Ukraine and Tokyo’s move to join the Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its alleged role in the crisis and the country’s reunification with Crimea.
The decision to resume the two-plus-two consultations was made as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Japan last December.