TOKYO, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) — Russian residents and officials visited Nemuro in Japan’s northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido on Monday to begin an inspection tour related to garbage processing ahead of a joint economic project between Tokyo ad Moscow slated to start on disputed islands.
The five-day visit, under a visa-free program between the two countries, will see residents from Kunashiri, one of the disputed islands, along with officials from Russia’s Sakhalin, inspect a waste incineration plant and a recycling facility.
Despite the dispute, and as part of efforts to work towards resolving the row that has hampered bilateral ties between the two sides, Japan has said it will provide equipment to Russia designed to compress garbage.
Sources with knowledge of the matter have also said the Russian side hopes that a waste incineration plant will be built.
The islands at the center of the dispute between Tokyo and Moscow are known as the Northern Territories in Japan and the Southern Kurils in Russia.
The decades-old territorial spat has prevented the two countries from signing a post-World War II peace treaty and hindered diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries.
Both sides, however, have provisionally agreed to promote joint economic activities on the disputed islands.
LINK ORIGINAL: Xinhuanet