Tokyo, March 20 (IANS) Japan and Russia on Monday resumed security talks after a gap of three years with special focus on North Korea, officials said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu are expected to discuss regional security issues with their Japanese counterparts Fumio Kishida and Tomomi Inada, Efe news reported.
"Russia and Japan need to jointly tackle many common threats," Shoygu said on Monday ahead of the talks.
After the first meeting in 2013, the security meetings between Tokyo and Moscow were put on hold as bilateral ties were frozen following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014.
Inada said the meeting was resumed owing to the current security situation in the region.
The rapid progress made by North Korea in its missile programme, which on March 6 test-fired four missiles into Japanese waters, will be one of the main topics of discussion, according to Japanese sources.
Moreover, tension in the region has been on the rise following the recent deployment of the US-built Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (Thaad) anti-missile system in South Korea, something that has been strongly opposed by Beijing and Moscow.
The ministers are also likely to discuss matters of maritime security, expansion of defence information exchange along with increasing joint cooperation in combating terrorism and piracy.
Japan hopes the dialogue will help in creating an environment conducive to resolving the dispute over the Kuril islands -- under Russian control since Japan's surrender in World War II in 1945.
In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss the dispute, which has prevented the two nations from signing a peace treaty.
Monday's meeting is also expected to pave the way for Abe's visit to Moscow later this year.