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The Government of Japan will create a database that records visa-free travel to the Southern Kuriles
The government of Japan will create a special database that will record the citizens of the country visiting the Southern Kuriles under the Visa Waiver Program. As reported by the Japanese news agency Kyodo, this is done to attract more participants, especially young people, to this program. It is noted that at the moment there is no such database in Japan, despite the fact that visa-free exchanges of this kind have been carried out for more than 22 years. Completion of its creation is planned for March next year.
The motor ship "Etopirika", specially built under this program, runs between the port of Nemuro on the northernmost Japanese island of Hokkaido and the island of Kunashir. The vessel with a displacement of 1124 tons is designed for almost 90 passengers. On "Etopirik" there are lifts for elderly travelers, cabins are adapted for movement in wheelchairs, since the former Japanese residents of the South Kuriles are already at a very old age. The name "Etopirika" is taken from the Ainu language and means a kind of sea bird.
Visa-free exchanges of this kind have been carried out since 1991. Since then, Japan has visited about 8,5 thousand inhabitants of Iturup, Kunashir and Shikotan. The South Kuriles visited over 18 thousand Japanese.