Japan Watches Russian Military Bases on Kurils

Russia has announced plans to build five military bases, including one on the Kuril Islands. The Soviet Union seized the islands from Japan at the end of World War II. The proposed bases are a small part of Russian efforts to increase and protect trade with Asian economies.

Both Japan and Russia know the importance of the Kurils. The islands are near waters commonly used by trade ships. Underground reserves of oil and natural gas increase the value of the islands. The fishing grounds are also good. Continue reading

Japan to intercept any North Korea missile deemed a threat

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will strike any North Korean ballistic missile that threatens to hit Japan in the coming weeks after Pyongyang recently fired medium-range missiles, a government source said on Saturday.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera issued the order, which took effect on Thursday and runs through April 25, the day that marks the founding of North Korea’s army, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Following the order, meant “to prepare for any additional missile launches,” a destroyer was dispatched to the Sea of Japan and will fire if North Korea launches a missile that Tokyo deems in danger of striking or falling on Japanese territory, the source said. Continue reading

Japan to nationalise 280 remote islands

Tokyo: Japan will nationalise about 280 of the about 400 remote islands that serve as markers for determining Japan’s territorial waters, the state minister for oceanic policy and territorial issues has announced.

Under the plan, announced on Tuesday, the government will complete its search for the islands’ owners by June. Islands whose owners have not been tracked down by then will be registered on the national asset ledger. Continue reading

China Finds a Gap in Japan’s Maritime Chokepoints

TOKYO – A flotilla of Chinese warships transited an important ocean strait off Japan’s northernmost island for the first time this week, passing within clear sight of observers onshore.

The PLA Navy vessels had just completed a major training exercise with Russian warships nearby and were using the Soya Strait to head into the far Pacific. It was just the latest Chinese excursion through narrow and potentially-strategic transit points in and around Japan’s home islands, and another example of China’s growing assertiveness in the region. Continue reading

Japan threatens to shoot down North Korean rocket

Kim Jong-un’s regime insists the rocket, which it says will fly south over the Philippines and Australia and into orbit, is carrying a communications satellite.Kim Jong-un’s regime insists the rocket, which it says will fly south over the Philippines and Australia and into orbit, is carrying a communications satellite.

But the United States, South Korea and Japan all say that the launch is really a ballistic missile test, with North Korea trying to master the technology to fire long-range missiles capable of one day carrying a nuclear warhead. Continue reading

Japan Scrambles Fighters to Meet Russian Bombers

According to the ministry, a total of five Russian planes, including two Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, two Su-24 Fencer reconnaissance planes and an A-50 Mainstay airborne early warning and control aircraft skirted Japanese territory on Wednesday.

“They flew over the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan off Hokkaido and the Tohoku region in northeastern Japan,” Japanese officials said, adding that it was the first time a Russian AWACS plane was spotted near Japan.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans in August 2007.

Full article: Japan Scrambles Fighters to Meet Russian Bombers (RIA Novosti)