Japan has issued entry visas to residents of the disputed Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, ahead of their visit to Sapporo for talks on a bilateral visa-free exchange program, government and Foreign Ministry officials said Thursday.
The visas became necessary when weather problems prevented three people living on Etorofu and Kunashiri islands from traveling visa-free directly from the islands to Hokkaido for the talks, which began Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said, adding the visa issuances were an exceptional measure.
The three flew to Narita airport via Sakhalin before moving on to Sapporo.
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