Habomai Islands

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Habomai Islands
Disputed islands
Other names: Russian: Малые Курилы; Japanese: 歯舞群島, translit. Habomai guntō
Habomai 01.jpg
Khabomai Rocks from space
Habomai Islands is located in Russia
Habomai Islands
Location Pacific Ocean
Coordinates 43°30′N 146°8′E / 43.500°N 146.133°E / 43.500; 146.133
Archipelago Kuril Islands
Total islands 10 + several rocks
Area ±100 km2
Administered by
District Yuzhno-Kurilsky District, Sakhalin
Claimed by
City Nemuro, Hokkaido
Capital city Tokyo
District Yuzhno-Kurilsky District, Sakhalin
Largest city (117)
Population 117

The Habomai Islands (Russian: Малые Курилы (Malye Kurily), Japanese: 歯舞群島 (Habomai guntō) or 歯舞諸島 (Habomai shotō )) are a group of islets in the southernmost Kuril Islands. They are currently under Russian administration, but together with Iturup (Etorofu), Kunashir (Kunashiri), and Shikotan are claimed by Japan.


It was part of Russia since the 17th century.

In 1732 it was mapped during the Russian Great Eastern Expedition.

The Treaty of Shimoda, signed by Russia and Japan in 1855, gave Japan ownership of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan, and the Habomai Islands.[1]

The Habomai Islands were occupied by Soviet forces in the last few days of World War II. The islands were eventually annexed by the Soviet Union, which deported all the island residents to Japan.[1] Moscow claimed the islands as part of a war-time agreement between the Allies (Yalta Agreement), which provided for the transfer of the Chishima (Kurile) Islands to the USSR in return for its participation in the Pacific War. However, Japan maintains that the Habomai Islands are not part of the Kuriles and are in fact part of Hokkaido prefecture. On May 26, 1955, the United States submitted an application for proceedings against the Soviet Union. As part of the proceedings, the United States questioned the validity of the Soviet Union's claim to the Habomai Islands.[2]

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.[3] As the treaty was never concluded, 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.

Formerly home to a Japanese fishing community, the islands are now uninhabited except for the Russian border guard outpost.

View of the Habomai Islands from Cape Nosappu (March 26, 2005).


  1. ^ a b "Kuril islands dispute between Russia and Japan". BBC. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "October 7, 1952 Incident (Habomai Islands) : Application by the United States to the International Court of Justice, May 26, 1955". Yale Law School. Retrieved 18 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Texts of Soviet–Japanese Statements; Peace Declaration Trade Protocol." The New York Times, page 2, October 20, 1956.
    Subtitle: "Moscow, October 19. (UP) – Following are the texts of a Soviet–Japanese peace declaration and of a trade protocol between the two countries, signed here today, in unofficial translation from the Russian". Quote:"...The U.S.S.R. and Japan have agreed to continue, after the establishment of normal diplomatic relations between them, negotiations for the conclusion of a peace treaty. Hereby, the U.S.S.R., in response to the desires of Japan and taking into consideration the interest of the Japanese state, agrees to hand over to Japan the Habomai and the Shikotan Islands, provided that the actual changing over to Japan of these islands will be carried out after the conclusion of a peace treaty..."

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