"Already now, there is a functioning visa-free regime on the sea that is not harming any side. Japanese seamen work in the Russian waters. Now we should apply the same practice also on land. If we manage to be that flexible, we will help the joint economic activities happen," Suzuki said.
The politician noted that he himself visits the four disputed Southern Kuril Islands (or Northern Territories, as they are referred to in Japan — Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai rocks), every year by sea without having to make a visa.
Russia and Japan are reportedly seeking joint economic activities on the disputed islands in five fields: agriculture, cultivation of vegetables in greenhouses, organization of tourist trips, hydropower, and waste recycling.
The Kuril Islands are the subject of a long-standing territorial dispute between Russia and Japan. The latter lays claim to Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan islands and the Habomai group of islets. The dispute has prevented Moscow and Tokyo from signing a peace treaty after World War II.