TOKYO, September 25. /Offset. TASS Vasily Golovnin/. The government of Japan believes that hold in 23-24 September, visa-free trip to the Southern Kuril Islands former inhabitants and accompanying persons contributed to the deepening of mutual understanding between the peoples of the two countries. This was reported TASS the representative a press-services of the Japanese foreign Ministry .

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“It was a special trip to visit the graves of ancestors, she said. – We believe that her organization was important from the point of view of deepening mutual understanding between the peoples of Japan and Russia. The trip was the result of negotiations of leaders of our countries in December last year and in April and July of this year.”

“Due to bad weather we were not able to make this pilgrimage in one day as planned, – continued the representative of the foreign Ministry. – If you had not used aircraft and the ship, as before, then only to the island of Kunashir, the journey took three hours, while the Islands of Iturup, almost 10 hours. Now we were able to reduce the time for travel, which has reduced the physical strain on the former residents of the Islands and opened up possibilities for future visits. This is important: we would like to use current experience to improve the quality of such trips.”

“The government of Japan, – said the interlocutor of the Agency, intends to continue to make utmost efforts to conclude a peace Treaty with Russia, listening to the opinions of the inhabitants of the Islands”.

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On Saturday morning a group of Japanese from 68 people, which, in particular, were former residents of the Kuril Islands and their relatives, took off from the airport to Nakashibetsu, located on the island of Hokkaido. Having made a stopover on Kunashir and landed where part of the delegation, the aircraft proceeded to the island of Iturup, but on the way back due to the bad weather failed to land on Kunashir to pick up part of the delegation, and the aircraft was forced to return to the airport of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Thus the Japanese delegation, divided into two parts, spent the night in Russia. In this regard, the question arose about the desirability of upgrading the airport Mendeleevo, to be able to function under adverse weather conditions.

The agreement about the visa-free basis was reached at a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin, held on 27 April in Moscow. In July in Hamburg, the two leaders agreed to arrange a flight in September.