Erika is a mascot created in 2008 for the Northern Territorial Issues Campaign, whose name is taken from etupirka. Etu means beak in the language of the Ainu, the indigenous peoples of Hokkai Do, while pirka means beautiful – . This campaign began in earnest in 1981, after the Japanese Cabinet decision to designate February 7th as a day to commemorate the northern territories. The Japanese government traditionally takes the month of February to push a heavy public relations campaign focused on these northern territories, complete with a website dedicated to the adventures of Erika as she flies over the islands in this region to visit other bird friends. The northern territories of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and Habomai islands had been occupied by the Soviet Union from 1945 until the dissolvement of the Soviet state, and by Russia since. When the Soviets claimed the islands over 17,000 Japanese residents were displaced, and Japan has consistently argued that the northern islands are an integral part of the country. The United States has supported the Japanese in their claim to the islands, which is especially important considering the United States’ reluctance to take a stand on other territorial disputes in Japan (notably the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands).
国後島 Kunashiri Island ( Курильские острова)
択捉島 Etorofu Island ( Итуруп )
色丹島 Shikotan Island (Остров Шикотан )
歯舞諸島 Habomai Island （Острова Хабомай）
The Monumnent, ” The Bridge Across the Four Islands.”
The images are retrieved from http://www8.cao.go.jp/hoppo/