The recent sighting of a Japanese submarine off Russia's Pacific coast is a rare one, unlike the presence of the US Navy’s subs, Admiral Viktor Fyodorov, former commander of the Russian Pacific Fleet, told RIA Novosti Thursday.
“There have hardly been any sightings of Japanese submarines near Russia’s maritime border, unlike American ones, which have been on routine patrol missions off the Kamchatka [peninsula] shore and the main base of Russia’s Pacific Fleet in Vilyuchinsk,” Adm. Fyodorov said.
This comment came after a report by Russia’s Kommersant daily, which cited a senior military official from the General Staff as saying earlier in the day that a Japanese submarine had been detected Wednesday in the La Perouse Strait, in between the southern part of the Russian island of Sakhalin and Japan's northern-most home island of Hokkaido.
The Russian admiral suggested the Japanese mission so close to the Russian waters was a sign that Tokyo had been beefing up its fleet to restore the Navy. The Imperial Japanese Navy was dissolved following World War II, with the Maritime Self-Defense Force being formed in its stead.
“A new status would allow Japanese subs to venture outside Japan’s marginal waters and effectively go to anywhere around the world,” Adm. Fyodorov told RIA Novosti.
In a similar incident, on August 7 Russia’s Northern Fleet antisubmarine forces detected and drove away a Virginia-class US submarine in the Barents Sea.