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Moscow, Tokyo To Expand Military Cooperation

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida (right) talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, prior to their meeting in Tokyo.
Russia and Japan have agreed to hold joint military and antipiracy exercises and establish a defense-consultation framework.

The agreement was reached at the two countries’ first joint meeting of foreign and defense ministers in Tokyo on November 2.

After the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: "This event today indicates a new stage in the relationship between Russia and Japan."

A day earlier, Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart, Fumio Kishida, agreed to hold a vice-ministerial-level meeting early next year to work toward the resolution of a territorial dispute.

Tokyo and Moscow have conflicting claims over the Kurile Islands, seized by the Soviet Union after World War Two.

Analysts say Russian President Vladimir Putin may be pursuing closer ties with Japan in part to counter China's rising military power.

Based on reporting by AP and