• Reuters


Russian residents of an island chain at the center of a dispute that has held up a Japanese-Russian treaty to formally end World War II hope a diplomatic solution will lure tourists and investment to help refurbish rickety infrastructure.

Ties have been soured since the waning days of the war, when Soviet forces seized the islands known in Russia as the Southern Kurils, but which Japan calls the Northern Territories, and forced out 17,000 Japanese residents.

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