Political map of the Arctic & the Far North 14 May 1926 (Arctic Flights): Following its peace with the Soviet Union (Japan during the Siberian Intervention), Japan ratified the Spitsbergen Treaty, the last of the original signatories to do so. This Treaty gave Norway sovereignty over Svalbard (their name for Spitsbergen) on condition it remained demilitarized and open to commercial interests. By now most of the Arctic had been claimed and was, with the advent of powered flight, vastly more accessible than before. In 1926, Byrd flew from Svalbard to the vicinity of the Pole and back in less than 16 hours (Richard E. Byrd), while Amundsen crossed the Pole in a 4 day airship journey from Norway to Alaska (Norge (airship)). To the new aviators, the Arctic was more a highway than an impenetrable barrier.