Documentary film 'Kunashir' screened in Moscow

A documentary film set on one of the Russian-held islands claimed by Japan has been screened in Moscow.

"Kunashir" was directed by Vladimir Kozlov, who was born in Belarus and is now based in Paris, France. He says he wanted to shed light on the history of the island and the difficulties faced by the Russian residents who currently live there.

The island is known as Kunashiri in Japan. It's one of four Russian-held islands that the Japanese government maintains are an inherent part of Japan's territory. The govenment says the islands were illegally occupied after World War Two.

The film focuses on the lack of infrastructure on the island, and follows the everyday life of a woman who complains that her house does not even have a toilet.

An elderly man is shown talking about former Japanese residents who were skilled in port construction and fishing. He says Russians and Japanese should explore a way to coexist on the island.

The film also features a company manager who says the outcome of World War Two cannot be overturned. He says he is against handing the island back to Japan.

The film was screened in Moscow until Monday. Some of the Russian viewers who saw the documentary say the legacy left by Japan should be more effectively used. They were critical of the Russian government for failing to develop the island's economy or improve the lives of the local residents.

Kozlov says that the documentary uses as a basis the tragedy of the Japanese residents who were driven off the island, and the destruction of their culture.