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Russian Far East, Japanese cities call for easing visa regime

August 22, 2013, 14:26 UTC+3
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TOKYO, August 22 (Itar-Tass) - Mayors of Japanese coastal and Russian Far Eastern and Siberian cities call for easing visa formalities.

An agreement was reached on Thursday to speed up efforts to ease visa formalities, according to a communique adopted by participants in a forum involving leaders of 28 Russian and Japanese cities.

The forum ended in Maizuru, Kyoto, on Thursday.

Forum participants lauded a proposal “to start inter-departmental consultations on prospects for cancelling visa formalities for citizens of both countries”.

The proposal was put forth during a visit to Russia by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in April 2013. During the visit parties expressed concern over the fact that the agreement on easing visa formalities “has not come into effect yet”.

Thus, the parties decided to send an address to the governments to join efforts aimed at making the agreement to come into effect as soon as possible.

Japanese and Russian officials believe that the development of tourism exchanges plays an important role in strengthening economic and humanitarian relations. Such exchanges are also indispensable to improve mutual understanding between the Russian and Japanese peoples. Thus, Japan intends to organise a familiarising tour over the western coast of Japan.

The meetings between mayors of Japanese and Russian Siberian and Far East cities are being held since 1970. This is the 24th forum. This year the forum is attended by mayors of 18 Japanese cities, including Niigata, Akita, Toyama and Kanazawa, and Russian ones - Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Yakutsk.

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