There are a string of volcanic islands in the Pacific, known as the Kurils. A dispute between Russia and Japan, has prevented the two nations from signing a peace treaty to formally end World War II.
The islands are
equidistant between the two countries and are rich in natural
resources, including potentially large oil and natural gas
reserves. Known in Japan as the Northern Territories and in
Russia as the South Kurils, four of these islands are at the
center of a dispute over ownership that continues. Many
potential solutions to the conflict have been proposed, but
talks between the countries have led to a stalemate and lack
of war ending treaty.