Russia Unilaterally Scraps Visa-Free Visit Program with Japan

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Jiji Press)--Russia's government on Monday issued a decree to unilaterally scrap Moscow's agreements with Japan on a program allowing mutual visa-free visits by former Japanese residents of northwestern Pacific islands at the center of the two nations' long-standing territorial row and current Russian residents.

The administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be trying to rattle Japan further as the country, in cooperation with the United States and European countries, has imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Moscow has designated Japan as an unfriendly nation.

The decision may have been timed to coincide with Putin's ongoing trip to the Far East. Russia is now conducting the Vostok 2022 large-scale military drills in locations including the disputed islands, apparently keeping Japan, the United States and others in check. The exercises are slated to run until Wednesday.

The Russian government's decision to scrap the agreements was posted on its official portal of legal information, according to Russian state-run news agency Tass. Russia has terminated the 1991 agreement between the then foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Japan on the procedures of mutual trips and the 1999 agreement between the Russian and Japanese governments regarding simplified visits, Tass reported.

Moscow has not referred to how the issue of visits to family graves on the disputed islands by former Japanese residents will be handled.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press