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Japan’s visa-free visits to Russian-held isles canceled this year due to virus

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All yearly visa-free visits to Russian-held isles off Hokkaido that are declared by Japan have actually been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a team of Japanese previous homeowners of the isles stated Monday.

The team had currently canceled its 6 visa-free traveling programs arranged for this year that would certainly have enabled them to see their previous homes under one classification of the program, as well as it has actually currently determined to terminate the last one to Etorofu, among the 4 challenged islands, slated for Sept. 25 to 28.

The visa-free programs enable teams of Japanese nationals to traveling to the challenged islands, called the Northern Territories in Japan as well as the Southern Kurils in Russia, without keys or visas.

The Soviet Union took the islands, additionally consisting of Kunashiri, Shikotan as well as the Habomai island chain, complying with Japan’s abandonment in World War II in 1945. Moscow claims it got them as a genuine end result of the battle, while Tokyo suggests their seizure was unlawful.

There are 3 groups under the visa-free program as well as a total amount of 19 visits had actually been arranged in between May as well as September this year, consisting of those in both groups — seeing forefathers’ tombs as well as exchanges with Russian individuals.

Hideaki Miyakawa, an elderly participant of the team of previous homeowners as well as their offspring, stated it was difficult to eliminate the danger of coronavirus infection while passing by sea.

“It is regrettable, but I hope we can visit there next year as we previously did,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Hokkaido federal government is thinking about hiring an aircraft to be flown near the challenged isles in October to November so aspects can be paid to the islanders’ forefathers from the air, according to neighborhood authorities.

Japan is battling to settle the long-lasting territorial conflict with Russia, which has actually stopped both nations from authorizing a postwar tranquility treaty.

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Since returning to power in 2012, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that has actually revealed his intent to action down, has actually aspired to development reciprocal talks, conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin 27 times.


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