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The Kuril Islands case was a long disputed territories affair between Russia and Japan since the end of World War II, even if both countries were in the same side, Russia had the Kuril Islands since 1914 by an agreement between Russia and Japan that was considered unjust by Japan years later. In the early 1980's, coinciding with a visit of the Showa Emperor to Moscow, the capital of the Russian Empire. Talks were hold during years in neutral territory (Galicia) until the 1983 Lwów treaty (Договор по делу о передаче полномочий от Курильских островов до Японии,日本に千島列島の分権化の場合に関する条約) that scheduled the devolution of the Islands to Japan on the 31st of December of 1995. There were two treaties, the one scheduling the devolution(1983 Lwów Treaty), and the one on devolution itself, (Pretoria 1987 Treaty)
Russian and Japanese flags were lowered and raised up respectively with the new year bells and the the Russian and Japanese national anthems.
Kiril II and the governor of the Yuzhno-Kurilskiy district attended the ceremony in representation of the Russian Empire and the Emperor Akihito of Japan in representation of Japan. In the provision of the treaty for the devolution it was stated that Russian will continue to be and official language in the prefecture of Yujinosaharinsuku-Chisima-Ken Prefecture.
Russian Language will be the preferred language in the prefecture as is the language spoken by most people in the Kuril Islands, it will be the first language in school (which will be compulsory in Russian) and by law all signs must and transportation indication must be written in Russian and Japanese.