TOKYO, June 30. /TASS/. Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi voiced concerns over Russia’s military drills in the Southern Kuril Islands during his visit on Wednesday to the Chitose military base in the island of Hokkaido, according to the Kyodo news agency.
"[Russia] is actively continuing its [military] activity in the Far Eastern region," Kishi said, noting that in February and in June this year Russia conducted military exercises in "the northern territories," Japan’s term for the Southern Kuril Islands.
On Tuesday, Japan’s defense chief during the inspection of the Chitose base expressed confidence that Japan’s self-defense forces should ensure protection of the airspace in the country’s north amid active steps of Russia’s aviation in the adjacent regions.
The minister also noted that Japan should not turn a blind eye to Russia’s long-range flights, including of long-range radar detection aircraft and fighter jets over the Seas of Japan and Okhotsk.
According to Japan’s Defense Ministry, last year Japan’s fighter jets carried out 725 sorties to intercept foreign military aircraft. This is 222 fewer than a year earlier. Some 458 sorties were conducted against Chinese jets and 258 - against Russian. This number dropped compared with 2019 by 217 and 10, respectively.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has stated on numerous occasions that the flights of Russia’s military jets are carried out in strict compliance with international rules of using the airspace.