May 27, 2015
Russia and Japan agree on a visa-free regime
By Oleg Matveychev
Translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Dmitriy Khan, the Deputy Minister for Investment and External Contacts of the Sakhalin Region announced that Russia and Japan agreed on a plan for visa-free exchange for 2015. Already in June, Japan will be visited by a group of Sakhalin youth. The final agreement was reached during a bilateral consultation between the two countries’ foreign ministries. There are plans for 15 Russian groups and 29 Japanese groups.
The foundation for a visa-free exchange between Russian southern Kuril Islands and Japan was laid in 1992. The two countries reached a mutual understanding on improving mutual relations and concluding a peace treaty. Professor Aleksey Maslov of the School of Eastern Studies of the Higher School of Economics believes that Japan is trying to develop a foreign military policy that is independent of that of its US ally. We are likely to hear more Japanese proposals on re-establishing good-neighborly relations.
J.Hawk’s Comment: Japanese pivot, anyone? Granted, it’s not going to take place overnight, but Japan is indeed showing interest in improving its relationship with Russia.