The peculiarity of Russia's relations with Japan is the existence of the problem of concluding a peace treaty, which includes the solution of the issue of border demarcation. The main problem on the way to reaching an agreement is the nomination of territorial claims by Japan to the southern Kuril Islands.
Japan insists that the so-called "Northern Territories", as it is called the islands of the southern part of the Kuril Islands in Japan, are native Japanese territories. This position was voiced by the Foreign Minister of Japan Taro Kono, speaking at the "National meeting for the return of the Northern Territories" on February 7, 2018.
A day earlier, on February 6, the Japanese foreign ministry announced to Russia a protest in connection with the launch of Russian anti-terrorist exercises on Kuril Islands, stressing that they contradict Japan's position towards these territories.
A week later, on February 13, 2018, SakhalinMedia reported that the government of Japan intends to publicly arrange regular study tours for teachers and schoolchildren in the areas adjacent to the southern part of the Kurils to maintain public interest in Tokyo's claims to these islands.
At the first stage, tours will be organized only for school teachers in four cities and towns on Hokkaido island, which are directly adjacent to the southern part of Kuril Islands. Next year, students will also be traveling to the area to introduce young people to the so-called "Northern Territories".
Tours of this type will be organized in the city of Nemuro on the extreme north-eastern extremity of Hokkaido, where the southern part of the Kurils is visible to the naked eye in good weather. It is also planned to arrange sea trips, so that the vessel can approach the islands closer, without leaving the Japanese control zone.
At the same time, the government plans to incur expenses for transportation and accommodation of participants of agitation tours, during which the students will arrange meetings with the former residents of the southern Kuril Islands, and familiarize them with their life on the islands before 1945.
The islands of the southern part of the Kuril Ridge - Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and several small uninhabited islands, which in Tokyo are called Habomai, became part of the USSR following the Second World War, but their identity is disputed by Japan.
Even though Japanese territorial claims to Russia are irrepressible, Moscow's position on this issue is unambiguous - the Kuriles are an integral part of the Russian state.