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Russian, Japanese defense ministers discuss cooperation prospects in Tokyo

March 20, 6:31 updated at: March 20, 6:48 UTC+3 TOKYO

The suspension of contacts between the Russian and Japanese defense ministries, initiated by Japan, benefited no one, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said

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TOKYO, March 20. /TASS/. On Monday, in Tokyo, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu and his Japanese counterpart Tomomi Inada are discussing the prospects of bilateral military cooperation.

"The agenda includes a wide range of issues, starting from the prospects of bilateral military cooperation to the assessment of the situations in crisis regions," Shoigu said adding that the ways to respond to the main threat of today, that is, international terrorism, were also to be discussed.

"We are ready for a frank and specific dialogue on all of these issues," the Russian defense minister noted. "Russia and Japan are facing common security threats that we can combat only by joining our efforts," he added.

Cooperation between Russia and Japan will "help build confidence in the defense sphere and ensure regional stability," Shoigu stressed.

The suspension of contacts between the Russian and Japanese defense ministries, initiated by Japan, benefited no one, Shoigu said.

"The suspension of high-level contacts between our defense ministries, initiated by Japan in 2014, including the cancellation of the Russian General Staff Chief’s visit to Tokyo, did no one any good," Shoigu said.

At the same time, the Russian defense minister added that "dialogue between experts and the exchange of military delegations continues.".

Military ties between Moscow and Tokyo should be stepped up along with political relations, Shoigu said.

"It is important that military ties are stepped up along with political relations," he said.

According to him, "in 2016, bilateral ties significantly intensified." "We need to ensure their further progress," the Russian defense minister stressed noting that "despite all difficulties," cooperation between Russia and Japan had been advancing.

In late 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin made an official visit to Japan. "During his visit, a number of documents were signed concerning various fields of cooperation. In accordance with the decision to deepen political and security ties, made at the December summit, today we are resuming the two-plus-two consultations," Shoigu went on to say.

The Russian defense minister thanked his Japanese counterpart for the invitation to visit Japan. "The current visit of the Russian delegation comes during the sakura blossom season while the previous meeting took place in November 2013, during the autumn red maple season. So we can now say that we have witnessed two of the most beautiful seasons in Japan," Shoigu said.

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