A major problem of the islands is the lack of infrastructure and an economy. “Infrastructure has been crumbling and life is harsh for the Russians - about 15,000 in total - who inhabit the islands… Moscow wants Tokyo to increase investment in Russia, but that is something Japanese businessmen have so far been reluctant to do.” (BBC, pg. 3) The countries are looking for the other to take the first step in helping revitalize the economy, and little is getting accomplished. The main source of employment for the inhabitants of the island is as fisherman.
The island chain is located north of the island of Japan. The island chain is the boundaries between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean. These islands are a part of the ring of fire, containing more than 40 active volcanoes. The island chain is comprised of more than 56 minor islands. (Wikipedia)
BBC News. Putin confronts Kurils dispute. 2000. Feb. 27, 2008
Wikipedia. Kuril Islands. Feb. 20, 2008. Feb. 27, 2008
MOFA. Signing of the Agreement between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Russian. 1998. Feb. 27, 2008