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An ainu homeland: An alternative solution for the Northern Territories/Southern Kuriles Imbroglio
Abstract and Figures
The Southern Kuriles dispute has prevented full normalisation of Russo-Japanese relations since World War II. A possible solution entails setting aside one or more of the islands as a homeland for the Ainu, once some form of self-government is in place. In the meantime the island(s) would be under Japanese administration, and under one option Japan would retain ownership while the Ainu govern the island(s). This would satisfy the Ainu's demands for restoration of their land, help preserve their culture and the islands' unique environment, strengthen Japan's connection to the islands, and place a buffer between Japanese- and Russian-administered territory. The Torres Strait Treaty and the islands of Kaho'olawe and Moloka'i in the Hawaiian chain are discussed as precedents and analogs to show how the formation of an island homeland could proceed. Among the possible drawbacks is the precedent this scenario would set for claims by other indigenous ethnic minorities in Russia and Japan.
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