The first pilot trip of Japanese tourists to the contested Kuril Islands, which was planned for October 11-16, has been postponed until late October-early November, the Consulate General of Japan in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk told Sputnik on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said that Russia had postponed the trip of Japanese tourists to Kunashir and Iturup islands of the Kurils archipelago.
"The pilot tour to the southern part of the Kuril Islands for Japanese tourists, scheduled for October 11-16, has been pushed back to a later date. Presumably, the trip will take place in late October or early November," the consulate said.
Russian-Japanese relations have long been complicated by the fact that the two nations have never signed a permanent WWII peace treaty. The main issue holding the two countries back is their dispute over a group of four Kuril islands -- Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai. Russia has sovereignty over these islets, but they are also claimed by Japan.
In December 2016, during a visit to Japan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to search for the possibilities of joint economic activities in the southern Kuril Islands.
Moscow and Tokyo are currently making efforts to finalize a permanent peace treaty. However, the two sides are yet to overcome their differences.
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