Japan, Russia reschedule tour to disputed islets for late Oct.
Seen in the center is Kunashiri. (Kyodo)
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan and Russia are rescheduling a trial tour by Japanese visitors of Moscow-held, Tokyo-claimed islands in late October at the earliest, after it was postponed at Moscow’s request, sources from both governments said Wednesday.
“We will make arrangements with Russia to realize the trip at the earliest possible timing, in late October or later,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference.
Russia told Japan on Tuesday that it wanted to reschedule the six-day tour by 50 Japanese people, including government officials, of Kunashiri and Etorofu — two of the four disputed islands — from Friday to Oct. 16 under a visa-free program, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said.
15, 1945. Moscow, however, sees the seizure as a legitimate outcome of the war.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed last November to step up talks toward concluding a post-World War II peace treaty. But hopes for tangible progress have waned since then due to a deep divide over the territorial issue.
During a summit in June on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Abe and Putin agreed to realize the trial tour this fall. In addition to tourism, waste reduction and greenhouse farming are also among joint economic projects.