• Kyodo

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Former Japanese residents of disputed islands off Hokkaido left Saturday for an annual visit to the Russian-held isles as the two countries struggle to address the long-standing row.

The first group of this year’s visitors, made up of some 60 former residents and their families, left the northern Hokkaido city of Nemuro by boat. They will see the remains of their old homes and other places on one of the islands, Etorofu, before returning to Nemuro on Monday, organizers said.

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