The first flight from Japan sent to the southern Kuriles
NAKASHIBETSU (Hokkaido, Japan), 18 Jul — RIA Novosti. The first Charter flight departs on Sunday morning from the Japanese island of Hokkaido to the southern Kuriles to their former residents were able to visit the graves of their ancestors under the visa-free exchange between the two countries.
So far for these trips were used Maritime transport, but in April of this year during the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Moscow, an agreement was reached on granting the former residents of the South Kuril Islands to visit them by plane.
As previously reported, the flight will perform Russian airline “Aurora”.
According to the visit program, distributed the day before during a ceremony on the occasion of the flight in the town Nakashibetsu, a Charter plane will fly from the local airport at 08:30 local time (02:30 GMT) and will arrive on Kunashir at 9:45 (03:45 GMT). At 11:15 (05:15 GMT) he will fly to Iturup and from there at 16:00 (10:00 GMT) and will depart first on Kunashir and then through the two hours will fly back to Nakashibetsu in Hokkaido.
The group included 70 Japanese citizens, who as a child left the South Kuril Islands after the Second world war, and their relatives. To accompany them on the trip will be officials, including Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Japan, Nobuo Kishi. At the ceremony in Nakashibetsu he called the opening of the flight “a major step” forward in improving the conditions for visits by the Japanese four Islands, which Tokyo calls the “Northern territories”. Noting the value held in December 2016 in Japan and in April of this year in Moscow summits of the two countries, Kishi expressed “the hope that such efforts will lead to the conclusion of a peace Treaty between Japan and Russia.”
The transfer of Japan of Islands of Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai Tokyo is put forward as conditions for the conclusion with Russia the peace Treaty. The position of Moscow consists that southern Kuriles became part of the Soviet Union at the end of the Second world war and the Russian sovereignty over them has the appropriate international legal registration and not be questioned.
As reported by RIA Novosti a former resident of Kunashiri Kazuko Maruta (76 years old), she was forced to leave the South Kuril Islands, when she was only four years. Several times she went to visit the graves of their ancestors. “I wanted Japan and Russia was a friendly one,” she said.
Town Nakashibetsu is located in the South-Western edge of Hokkaido. From the observation tower here in clear weather is visible Kunashir.
Nakashibetsu surrounded by meadows with grazing cows, birch and spruce forests, from the clouds on the horizon rise the peaks of the mountains.
Since 1992, in the framework of visa-free exchanges in Japan come and Russian citizens, residents of Kunashir, Shikotan and Iturup. Students from the southern Kuril Islands was stopped in Nakashibetsu, along with peers from Japan by establishing relations between future generations of the two countries.