The government decided on April 14 to send a survey team to the Russian-held Northern Territories off Hokkaido as early as mid-May as a step toward the realization of Japan-Russia joint economic activities on the disputed islands.
The team will be made up of public officials from related government bodies and parties from the private sector, including tourism and fisheries businesses. Since fiscal 1992, Russian residents of the islands and groups of Japanese citizens including former residents of the Northern Territories and scholars have been allowed to travel between the disputed islands and Japanese soil without passports or visas, but this will be the first public-private joint research team to be sent to the islands with the aim of promoting economic activities.
Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in December last year when the latter visited Japan that the two countries would start negotiations over joint economic activities on the Northern Territories. Abe is scheduled to meet with Putin again during his visit to Moscow on April 27 and 28.
Read the full story at The Mainichi