TOKYO, may 11. /TASS/. The first in 2018, a group of Japanese citizens as part of 60 people went on Friday to visa-free trip to the southern Kuril Islands in the framework between Japan and Russia for the exchange program. This was reported by the Agency Kyodo.

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The trip will last until may 14. It is expected that the Japanese visit the graves of ancestors on the island of Kunashir, and then return back to the port of Nemuro in Northern Hokkaido Prefecture.

Southern Kuril Islands without visa on a special ship “Atopica” can visit the former inhabitants of these territories, as well as their family members, researchers, representatives of public organizations and journalists. The period of visitation limited to weather conditions.

Visits visa-free of this kind held since 1991 . During this period, Japan was visited by more than 8 thousand inhabitants of the Islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri and Shikotan, and the southern part of the Kuril Islands was visited by over 18 thousand Japanese.