Former Japanese residents of four Russian-held islands claimed by Japan have arrived in the territory to visit the graves of their ancestors.
A group of 67 people, including government officials, left Nakashibetsu Airport in the northern prefecture of Hokkaido for the islands by chartered Russian plane before 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Typhoon Lekima is moving away from remote islands in Japan's southwestern prefecture of Okinawa. But weather officials are urging caution for strong winds, high waves and storm surges.
The Meteorological Agency says that as of 9 a.m. on Friday, Lekima was about 260 kilometers north of Ishigaki Island and was moving northwest at 30 kilometers per hour.
Violent wind from Typhoon Lekima has been battering remote islands in Japan's southwestern prefecture of Okinawa. The Meteorological Agency continues to warn of very strong winds, high waves, and storm surges.
The agency says that as of 6 a.m. on Friday, Lekima was situated 190 kilometers north of Ishigaki Island.
More than half the respondents in a Russian opinion poll said the four Russian-controlled islands claimed by Japan belong to Russia, while more than 40 percent said the countries should negotiate an agreement.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry commissioned research agencies to carry out opinion polls in various countries, including Russia. In the Russian poll, conducted by telephone in February, 3,600 people aged between 18 and 69 responded.
Japan's government has lodged a protest through diplomatic channels against Russia's military drills on the islands of Etorofu and Kunashiri. The two islands are among the Northern Territories. Russia controls the four islands. Japan claims them.
The Japanese government maintains the islands are an inherent part of Japan's territory. It says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.
Documents obtained by NHK show that the leadership of the Soviet Union was prepared to offer the handover of two of the four islands claimed by Japan as its biggest concession before negotiations on normalizing diplomatic ties in the 1950s.
Documents dated June 2, 1955, shortly before the start of the talks, say that the Soviet Union could open to negotiations on the handover of Habomai and Shikotan. But it involved the condition that foreign military bases would not be placed on the islands.