Sightseeing Tour of Russian-Held Isles to Start Next Week

Politics

Tokyo, Oct. 5 (Jiji Press)--A trial sightseeing tour including Russian-held northwestern Pacific islands for Japanese people will start next week as part of joint economic activities on the disputed islands, Japanese government sources said Saturday.

The eight-day tour from Wednesday was arranged after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed a plan to hold such a tour at a summit in June.

Tokyo and Moscow have a territorial dispute over four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, known as the Northern Territories in Japan. They are Shikotan, the Habomais, Etorofu and Kunashiri.

Participants to the tour will visit Kunashiri and Etorofu over the six days from Friday.

At present, visits to the islands by Japanese people are limited to those made under frameworks agreed by the two countries, such as trips by former residents of the islands and their families to visit the graves of their relatives.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press