Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov agreed Friday to accelerate work on starting joint economic activities on Russian-held islands claimed by Japan off Hokkaido.

At a meeting in Munich, they also decided to meet again in Tokyo on March 21 to prepare for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Russia in May and his summit with President Vladimir Putin, Japanese officials said.

Kono lodged a protest with Lavrov over a Russian military exercise being held on the isles, as well as over Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's approval of military activities at a civilian airport on the one called Etorofu, which Russia calls Iturup, they said.