Kunashir, one of the biggest islands of the Kuril Archipelago, is situated 16 kilometers from Japan. It was occupied by the Soviet army in 1945. One year later, after a short period of cohabitation, 17.000 Japanese and Ainu people who were living in the Kurils and on Sakhalin were deported to the island of Hokkaido. Since that time Japan has been demanding the return of the Kuril Islands. A peace treaty between the two countries still has not been signed.