The Habomai Islands are a group of islet
An islet is a very small island.- Types :As suggested by its origin as islette, an Old French diminutive of "isle", use of the term implies small size, but little attention is given to drawing an upper limit on its applicability....

s in the southernmost Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

. They are currently under Russian administration, but are, together with Iturup
Iturup is the largest island of the South Kuril Islands. It is the northernmost island in the southern Kuril/Chishima islands, and though it is presently controlled by Russia, Japan also claims this island...

, Kunashir and Shikotan
Shikotan, in Russian , Japanese , or シコタㇴ), is one of the bigger islands of the Kuril Islands, which are controlled by Russia. It is one of the four southernmost islands which Japan maintains a claim for...

, claimed by Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...


Habomai were occupied by the Soviet forces in the closing days of the Pacific War, and were eventually annexed by the Soviet Union in line with what Moscow claimed was a war-time agreement between the Allies (Yalta Agreement), which provided for the transfer of the islands to the USSR in return for its participation in the Pacific War.

In 1956, after difficult negotiations, the Soviet Union agreed to cede the Habomai to Japan, along with Shikotan, after the conclusion of a peace treaty between the two countries. In the event, the treaty was never concluded, and the islands remained under Soviet jurisdiction. However, the promise of a two-island solution (for the purpose of simplicity, the Habomai rocks count as one island) has been renewed in the Soviet-Japanese, and later, Russo-Japanese negotiations.

In part because of uncertainties with regard to the future of the Habomai, the islands are now uninhabited save for the Russian border guard outpost.
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