Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 152

The Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported on August 5 that the Russian Pacific Fleet and Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Forces are considering the establishment of a “hot line.” The new link would allow the two navies to communicate easily and quickly and might be especially useful in the event of incidents on the high seas. A Japanese defense official was quoted as saying that the hot line is “now being discussed from the technical, budget and political points of view.” According to Itar-Tass, the line could be in operation by the end of this year. (Itar-Tass, UPI, August 5) In Moscow yesterday, a Russian naval official said that consideration of the hot line does not imply concerns over the security situation in Asia, but is being seen more–as the Japanese defense official implied–as a means of quickly addressing emergencies. (Itar-Tass, August 6)

Reports of the hot line report come amid efforts by Japan and Russia to step up military contacts. The reports also follow by only days a naval exercise–the first of its kind–between the Russia and Japanese navies that took place last week in waters near the Russian city of Vladivostok. Afterward, representatives of both sides called the exercises a great success. (Itar-Tass, July 30; see Monitor, July 30)