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TOKYO, July 7. /TASS/. The first direct flight from Japan to Russia’s South Kuril Islands will be conducted in the near future, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said at a meeting with Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Hiroshige Seko.
"Although both countries had arranged everything so that people could visit the South Kuril Islands, but unfortunately, the flight was cancelled due to weather conditions. However, we hope that it will be held soon," Shuvalov said.
Russia and Japan have been holding consultations since the mid-20th century in order to clinch a peace treaty as a follow-up to World War II. The Kuril Islands issue remains the sticking point since after WWII the islands were handed over to the Soviet Union while Japan has laid claims to the four southern islands.
Moscow has been repeatedly pointing out that Russia’s sovereignty over these islands is based on international law and cannot be questioned.
On April 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reached an agreement on introducing a visa-free flight from Japan to the South Kuril Islands.
Russia’s Aurora air company was expected to conduct the first flight in June but the flight had to be cancelled due to bad weather conditions. A new date for the trip is currently under consideration.