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Russian Ainu leader calls for greater respect

Descendants' group on Kamchatka now has 217 members


PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY, Russia -- When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in December, the two leaders agreed to begin talks to promote joint economic development of four islands that Japan calls the Northern Territories and Russia calls the Southern Kurils. They also shared the idea to work toward allowing former residents to have unlimited access to the islands.

Working level discussions are soon expected to go full tilt. But the future of the Ainu, the islands' native people, is not on the agenda.

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