Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it is suspending a 24-year-old agreement allowing Japanese fishing companies to harvest in waters near the disputed Kuril Islands.

The agreement, reached by the two countries in 1998, gave Japan access to specific quota volumes in waters near Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Lesser Kuril Ridge of the South Kuril islands.

Moscow accused Tokyo of "freezing" payments for the fishing access, which it says delayed the annual signing of the agreement.

"We are forced to make a decision to suspend the implementation of the 1998 agreement until the Japanese side fulfills all its financial obligations,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

Russia did not disclose the specific amounts in question, and data on the annual catch under the agreement is difficult to obtain.

Japanese officials blasted Moscow's actions, according to Kyodo News.

"We intend to continue consultations with the Russian side in order to enable the Japanese side to continue activities within the agreement," a spokesman for Japan’s Foreign Ministry said.

Japanese vessels have been fishing near the Kuril Islands for years, and at times have come in deadly conflict with Russian vessels.