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The Disputed Kuril Islands of Northern Japan


The Disputed Kuril Islands Map

The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands, in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast islands region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately 1,300 kilometers (810 miles) northeast from Hokkaido, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 large and small islands and many minor rocks in the island chain. It consists of Greater Kuril Ridge and Lesser Kuril Ridge. The total land area is 10,503 square kilometers (4,055 square miles) with a total population of 19,4300+.

All the islands are currently under Russian jurisdiction. Japan claims the two southernmost large, and closets islands to Japan (Iturup and Kunashir) as part of their territory, as well as Shikotan and the Habomai islets, which has led to the ongoing Kuril Islands dispute. The disputed islands are labeled in Japan as the country's "Northern Territories".

Kuril Islands Locator Map


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