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Putin: Visa-free travel to Kuril Islands by its former residents from Japan possible

December 13, 2016, 14:52 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Vladimir Putin sees no political restraints for visa-free travel to the Kuril Islands of Japanese people, who used to reside there

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© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, December 13. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday he saw no political restraints for visa-free travel to the Kuril Islands of Japanese people, who used to reside there.

In an interview with Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV) and Yomiuri newspaper, Putin, who is set to pay an official visit to Japan this week, said it was important to create the atmosphere of trust and friendship between the nations of Russia and Japan.

"This may be achieved, for example, by large-scale economic activities that will also cover the Kuril Islands," he said. "It may be achieved by solving purely humanitarian issues, for instance, unhindered visa-free travel by former residents of the Southern Kuril Islands to where they used to live: visiting cemeteries, native places and so on."

The Russian president said that the issue of visa-free travel for the people of Japan was initially brought up by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their bilateral meeting last month in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

"He brought the matter up at our last meeting in Lima and asked me straightforwardly whether we would agree to let Japanese citizens travel on a visa-free basis, resolve the issue in such a way as to enable them to visit the South Kurils, visit their native areas," Putin said.

"I said at once that it was quite possible," the Russian leader said. "Our foreign ministries will simply need to sort out some purely technical matters. I see no political restraints here."

 

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