Island

Japan Has 'Lost' One Of Its Islands

In what might be one of the most 'fake news' sounding stories of the year, one of Japan's islands has gone missing, with officials fearing it has been washed away.

Japan Has 'Lost' One Of Its Islands

The disappearance of the tiny uninhabited island, known as Esambe Hanakita Kojima, has sparked plans for a survey of the area to figure out if the land slipped under the waves or destroyed by extreme weather, reports Yahoo News.

 

Prior to the discovery, the island was noted as sitting 1.4 metres above sea level and could be seen from the very northern tip of Japan's northern Hokkaido island.

Credit: Pixabay
Credit: Pixabay

Japan's coastguards reported that the island was last surveyed back in 1987, and it wasn't until author Hiroshi Shimizu visited Sarufutsu to write a sequel to his picture book on the country's 'hidden' islands that the disappearance was discovered.

When he reached Esambe Hanakita Kojima and found that the island was far more than just 'hidden', Hiroshi notified the local fisheries, who sent out boats and found that the land had gone missing.

Due to the time lapse, experts predict that it had been eroded by wind and drift ice. A coastguard official said, "It is not impossible that tiny islands get weathered by the elements," adding that it "may affect Japan's territorial waters a tiny bit," but only "if you conduct precision surveys."

 

Japan suffers from turbulent weather and earthquakes, the most recent being Typhoon Jebi - the worst storm to have hit the country in 25 years.

Due to these extreme conditions, the country has gained as well as lost territory over the years. For example, in 2015, a 300-metre area of land emerged from the sea and attached itself to the coast of Hokkaido. Local geologists suggested that it was likely due to a landslide pushing the surface up past sea level.

However, in this instance it would appear Japan has lost one of its outer islands, which could lead to territorial disputes with neighbouring countries such as South Korea and China.

Yahoo News reports that the government pours resources into defending its outer islands - particularly the remote Okinotori islands in the Pacific - as it ensures a sizeable chunk of the nation's exclusive economic zone.

As it stands, the mystery remains as to how the island disappeared - any issues relating to territorial disputes will have to wait.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay