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First trip to Kuril Islands for Japanese tourists delayed

The maiden tour to the Southern Kuril Islands for Japanese tourists was scheduled for October 11-16

TOKYO, October 8. /TASS/. A maiden tour to the Southern Kuril Islands for Japanese tourists scheduled for October 11-16 has been postponed indefinitely, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The reason for the delay is Russia’s demand to reschedule the trip. "In the future, the possibility of arranging the tour will be discussed with the parties related to it," the ministry said.

According to the earlier announced plan, a group of 50 people, including tourists, diplomats, representatives of Japan’s tourism agency as well as doctors and interpreters, was due to head from the port of Nemuro on Hokkaido on October 11 and arrive on Kunashir on the same day. The tour program included visits to the Orthodox churches and museums on Kunashir and visits to hot springs and white cliffs on Iturup on October 14.

Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism said on August 15 that following the maiden tour, regular tourist trips to the Southern Kuril Islands would be launched for the Japanese by 2020. The agency added that the project, aimed at boosting tourism to Russia, would also help bring the tourist flow between Japan and Russia to 400,000 by 2023.

Moscow and Tokyo continue consultations on joint economic activities on the Southern Kuril Islands in the areas of aquaculture, greenhouse farming, tourism, wind energy and waste management. Russia and Japan consider joint economic activities on the islands as an important step towards signing a peace treaty. This June, Russia and Japan agreed on two business plans on waste management and tourism on the Kuril Islands.