Many remote places in the world are important in historical significance, even though student's may not be familiar with their location. The Kuril Islands is one such location. Have a world history research paper written on the Kuril Islands and learn why they are significant.
Here are a few little-known facts regarding the Kuril Islands:
- The Kuril islands are an archipelago extending north from Hokkaido (Japan's northernmost large island) to the southern tip of the Sakhalin peninsula (which extends south into the Pacific from eastern Siberia).
- The islands, in effect, form a partition enclosing the Sea of Okhotsk from the larger Pacific.
- These largely uninhabited islands, used for centuries as outposts by fisherman and sealers, were first formally divided between Russia and Japan by the Simodsky agreement (1855).
- Simodsky established the Russo-Japanese border between Iturup and Urup, with the four islands to the south of the line belonging to Japan.
Despite the apparent limited economic value of the islands, sovereignty touches emotional chords in both Russia and Japan. For many Russians, especially those of the World War II generation, the southern Kurils are tangible evidence of Russia's last international victory of world-wide importance. The recent devolution of the Soviet Union and the economic dislocation that followed has perhaps even hardened these views and Russian leaders are surely sensitive to them. (For example, before departing Moscow for his August 2000 conference Prime Minister Mori, President Putin stated that he would not bargain the islands away. [Islands stumbling block for Putin and Mori]) By the same token, "Tokyo is wary of a right-wing backlash should it abandon its claim to the islands and has been cool to the notion of an interim deal."
For Russia, however, there is a conflicting economic impulse. Its annual bilateral trade with Japan is minuscule (about $5-6 billion) compared with the comparable Japan-China numbers ($60-70 billion). As a practical matter, Russia simply does not have the assets to develop the Kurils, although there is ample evidence that modern fishing fleets and ore extraction technologies could generate many billions annually. As a practical matter, this will have to come from Japan.