TOKYO, June 26. /TASS/. The decision of Japanese authorities to cancel plans to deploy US Aegis Ashore missile defense systems in the country can have an influence on negotiations with Russia, Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi told a press conference Friday.
"[Cancelling Aegis Ashore deployment] touches upon the contents of the Japanese-Russian talks. There is a possibility that this will influence the talks themselves," the minister noted. He also underlined, "issues of maintaining security are also touched upon in the negotiations with Russia."
Responding to the question whether scrapping the American missile defense systems can become a positive moment for the consultations with Moscow, the minister noted that he expresses "neither optimism nor pessimism" regarding the factors that can have an impact on the process.
On June 15, Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono revealed the decision to end Aegis Ashore deployment program. He cited the fact that it is impossible to guarantee that missile boosters will land within military bases or in the sea when activating the systems, which poses a threat to residential communities. According to him, additional costs and time are required to fix this design flaw. Meanwhile, the experts point to the fact that Aegis Ashore systems in the ordered version cannot intercept latest ballistic missiles as well as cruise missiles. On June 18, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed that he intended to launch discussions on a new national defense strategy policy in summer in light of plans to scrap the procurement and deployment of the US systems.
Moscow and Tokyo have been conducting intermittent consultations on concluding a peace treaty on the basis of the results of World War II since the middle of last century. The sovereignty over the southern Kuril Islands is the stumbling block. In 1945, the whole archipelago was taken over by the Soviet Union. Japan disputes the territorial affiliation of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and a group of currently uninhabited islands referred to as Habomai in Japan. The Russian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly said that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands relies on an international legal groundwork and is unquestionable.