Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 4:33 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Special Grave Visit by Former Island Residents by Plane
Mr. Norio Maruyama, Foreign Press Secretary: Through careful coordination based on the agreement made at the Japan-Russia Summit meeting in April, an arrangement has been reached for special grave visits to Kunashiri and Etorofu Islands by plane on June 18, weather permitting, with return on the same day. This will be the first time that a grave visit in the Northern Territories is conducted by plane.
The visiting group is expected to consist of about 70 people, mainly former residents of the Northern Territories and their families. Government attendees will be State Minister for Foreign Affairs Nobuo Kishi and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cabinet Office.
State Minister Kishi plans to attend the group formation meeting on the previous day and subsequent press conference held in Nakashibestu.
The arrangement and implementation of this visit has been made from a humanitarian perspective of reducing physical burden on the former island residents, who are at an advanced age, as much as possible. Japan expects this type of cooperation between Japan and Russia regarding the Four Northern Islands to contribute significantly towards concluding a peace treaty. We will continue making steady progress with discussions while bearing in mind the strong feelings of former island residents.