- vol.4, pp.67-80, 2008
Japan and Russia are in dispute over the Northern Territories (Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai Shoto) in the Chishima Archipelago held by Russia since 1945. Although this issue will be solved by the governments of both Japan and Russia, there has also been since 1992 a system of so-called "Interchange without Passports / Visas", or unofficial diplomacy by citizens of Japan and Russia in the Northern Territories. This system has been crowned with great success, especially after the Hokkaido Tohooki Earthquake occurred in 1994. The first group to deliver necessities of life to Russians in Shikotan was not the Russian government, but the group of Japanese former residents. Since that time, the Russian residents have changed their sentiment and now say that they may be able to live a life together there. We can say that this "Interchange without Passports / Visas" has helped to improve their mental infrastructure. This thesis is not only makes use of the academic analysis of the former research, but it is also based on original interviews of former residents, diplomats, Russian residents, and Japanese teachers. Moreover, it reflects the author's own inspection, conducted through participation in the "Interchange without Passports / Visas" in 2005 and 2006.