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"Top Gun" Diplomacy
Japan and Russia to Resolve Airborne Row

Japan and Russia, which due to a technicality have formally been at war since WWII, are set to work out conditions to end the increasingly frequent airborne “incidents” that have been ratcheting up tensions in their relations. IHS Jane’s reports:

High-level officials from Japan and Russia are to meet to prevent any further ‘airspace incidents’ between their respective air forces, media from the two countries disclosed on 10 November.

A delegation from the Japan Air Self-Defence Force (JASDF) will visit Russia during the week beginning 15 December to discuss with Russian Air Force (Voyenno-Vozdushnye Sily – VVS) officials ways of boosting cooperation and reducing tensions. Recent months have seen an increase in the number of interceptions on each other’s aircraft by both countries.

The meeting, which was reported by both the Japanese Nikkei and Russian TASS news agencies, will include discussions on exchange visits by both air forces. The Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and Russian Navy already hold joint exercises, and it is hoped that this new initiative will help the two countries’ air forces foster similar good relations.

Russian-Japanese relations are tense right now because of Japanese support for and participation in Western sanctions over Ukraine, as well as the longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries over the Kuril Islands north of Japan. If this meeting succeeds in calming the situation, that’s all to the good. It will be nice to have one fewer game of chicken going on in Asia.

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