MOSCOW (AP) _ Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said Tuesday that Russia would cut its armed forces in Siberia and the Far East by more than 20 percent over the next five years.

Sergeyev, on an official visit in Tokyo, said the cuts would be in line with an overall reorganization of the Russian armed forces and would involve 500 military units. One hundred seventy of them will be disbanded altogether.

``The reorganization will be carried out in such a way as to preserve the remaining formations' maximum combat capacity and to improve living conditions in the garrisons,'' Sergeyev said, according to the Interfax news agency.

Overall, Russia plans to cut its oversized military establishment by about 600,000 people over the next several years in hopes of building a more mobile and effective force.

The military currently has about 3.1 million uniformed and civilian personnel, and the overall cuts would mean about a one-fifth reduction of the armed forces.

Sergeyev and Kazuo Torashima, chief of the National Defense Agency of Japan, were expected to sign a protocol on further expansion of bilateral military relations, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.