Japanese defense minister Tomomi Inada has protested against Moscow's deployment of anti-ship missiles on Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.
Inada and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, met in Tokyo on Monday. It was the first meeting between defense ministers of the 2 nations in more than 3 years.
Inada objected to Russia's military buildup on the disputed islands, including development of anti-ship cruise missiles. She said the islands are inherent part of Japan's territory.
Shoigu replied the missile deployment is necessary for Russia's national defense.
Inada said security conditions surrounding Japan are becoming serious.
She explained that North Korea test-fired about 20 ballistic missiles last year.
Shoigu said the 2 countries need to promote defense cooperation.
But he expressed concern over the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems in Japan, saying it could hamper the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region.
Inada said the interceptor missiles are for defense against North Korea and do not pose a threat to neighboring countries.
They agreed that the 2 nations will continue defense exchanges to prevent unintended contingencies.