A Japanese island disappeared quietly - and so far nobody has noticed

A Japanese island disappeared quietly - and so far nobody has noticed

Japan has many uninhabited islands, of which around 158 were designated by the government in 2014 to ensure that the water around them continues to belong to Japan.

But now one of these islands has disappeared, the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported this week. And so far nobody seemed to notice.

The Japanese Coast Guard apparently plans to search for the small island of Esanbehanakitakojima, which is about a third of a mile from Sarufutsu, a village on Hokkaido Island.

Hiroshi Shimizu, an author who published a picture book about Japanese islands, was the one who reported that the island was not where it should be. He wanted to visit Esanbehanakitakojima as part of a follow-up project, but the Japanese newspaper reported that he simply could not find it. Then he turned to the village fishery of Sarufutsu to ask where it might be.

It turned out that the last time the Japanese Coastguard surveyed the island in 1987, and it was known to be about 4½ meters above sea level.

But now it's not seen from the countryside at all.

"There is a possibility that the island has been eroded by wind and snow and has disappeared as a result," Chief Coast Guard Tomoo Fujii told Asahi Shimbun.

A Coast Guard official told Agence France-Presse that the disappearance "could affect the coastal waters of Japan a little. , , if you do precision surveys. "

The disappearance of land is not unknown. For example, a study published in Environmental Research Letters in 2016 found that five reef islands had disappeared in the Solomon Islands of the Pacific Ocean between 1947 and 2014. the west pacific noted that "extreme events, shore walls, and inappropriate development" are likely for the Most changes in the coastline in this region were responsible.

Japan, for its part, has taken action to ensure that it uses certain islands to avoid further territorial disputes with its neighbors.

Japan announced in 2016 that there would be $ 107 million to rebuild the observatory on a Pacific island called Okinotorishima, located about 1,000 miles south of the capital, Tokyo.

The Guardian reported back then that Beijing claimed that the island was made of stone and disqualified Japan from bringing it into its exclusive economic zone. A United Nations Convention has claimed that "rocks that can neither maintain their own habitat nor their own economic life" are not suitable for such a zone.

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