22 September 2018

Tokyo regrets that trip to the South Kuril Islands

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The Japanese government regrets that a trip to the South Kuril Islands, arranged for their former Japanese residents, had to be cancelled, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday. reports citing TASS.

"Given the feelings of the former residents, this situation is highly regrettable," he said.

Hokkaido authorities said earlier Russia had informed them that the trip, scheduled to take place on September 10-13, had to be cancelled as "the parties failed to agree on the details." A group of Japanese citizens was expected to travel to the islands to visit their family graves.

In September 2017, Russia and Japan arranged the first charter flight to the South Kuril Islands for their former residents. An agreement on that was reached at a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held in Moscow on April 27, 2017. The first trip of 2018 took place on July 22.

South Kuril Islands issue

Since the mid-20th century, Russia and Japan have been holding consultations in order to clinch a peace treaty as a follow-up to World War II. The Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union while Japan laid claims to the four southern islands. In 1956, the two countries signed a common declaration on ending the state of war and restoring diplomatic and all other relations, however, a peace treaty has still not been reached. Moscow has stated many times that Russia’s sovereignty over the islands cannot be called into question.

2018.09.05 / 12:15
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