In Japan, the ceremony on the occasion of the first flight to the southern Kuriles

© RIA Novosti / Ivan Searchenginegenie the opening of flights between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the Southern Kuril IslandsIn Japan, the ceremony on the occasion of the first flight to the southern Kuriles© RIA Novosti / Ivan Zakharchenko

Ceremony on the occasion of the first flight between the Japanese island of Hokkaido and the southern Kurils took place on Saturday in the village of Nakashibetsu, where on June 18 Charter plane from Russia will take a group of Japanese visa-free travel to the Islands of Kunashir and Iturup to visit the graves of their ancestors.

Still for such visits, used sea 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 without a visa by plane.

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Japan, Nobuo Kishi 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.»

As announced at the ceremony, the group that will travel this time to the southern Kuriles, included 70 people. The plane of the Russian airline «Aurora» will fly out of Nakashibetsu 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 island, and from there at 16:00 (10:00 GMT) and will depart first on Kunashir and then after a little over two hours back in Nakashibetsu in Hokkaido.

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. According to her, several times she went to visit the graves of their ancestors. «I wanted Japan and Russia was a friendly one,» she said.

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