Previously, such visits were used Maritime transport. In April, following the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had agreed to provide former residents of the South Kuril Islands the opportunity to travel by plane, according to

Speaking at the ceremony, Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Japan, Nobuo Kishi called the opening of this route is a "great step forward" to improve conditions for citizens of the country the four Islands.

In December 2016, during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Japan, the two leaders agreed on the document on the beginning of consultations on joint economic activities on Southern Kuriles.

Following the end of world war II between Moscow and Tokyo never signed a peace Treaty. The main obstacle to the signing of the document is the unresolved dispute over the southern Kuril Islands, namely the largest Islands: Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai group.

In Japan, the Southern Kuril Islands called the Northern territories.