Four South Kuril Islands are designated as part of Japan on the official website of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. On the map of the Olympic flame route, the islands of Kunashir, Shikotan, Iturup and Habomai are included in Hokkaido Prefecture.
Japan claims four southern islands of the Kuril ridge – Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai, referring to the Treaty on Trade and Borders of 1855. Moscow’s position is that the South Kuril Islands became part of the USSR following the Second World War and that Russian sovereignty over them, which has international legal design, is not in doubt.
In September 2018, at the Eastern Economic Forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to conclude a peace treaty “without any preconditions.” The Japanese prime minister called this proposal unacceptable.
In June 2019, Vladimir Putin broadcast on VGTRK that Russia did not intend to transfer the South Kuril Islands, stressing that the government intended to develop these territories.
After that, in July of the same year, Tokyo designated the South Kuril Islands as Japanese territory in the materials that were used by the Japanese side to cover the G20 summit in Osaka.
On August 2, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited Iturup Island. The Japanese Foreign Ministry called this visit “extremely deplorable” and “incompatible with the position of Japan.” After that, the Russian Embassy in Tokyo received a presentation from the Japanese Foreign Ministry. Commenting on the discontent of Tokyo, Medvedev said: “This is our land, this is a subject of the Russian Federation, these islands are part of the Sakhalin region.”