Tiny Japanese island goes missing off Hokkaido
Missing: A tiny island in northern Japan. Or so authorities fear, prompting plans for a survey to determine if the outcrop has been washed away, ever-so-slightly shrinking the countryâs territorial waters.
The island, known as Esambe Hanakita Kojima was only officially surveyed and registered by the Japan Coast Guard in 1987, who couldnât even say exactly how big it was.
Until recently, it rose 1.4-meter (4Â½ feet) above sea level, and was visible from the very northern tip of Hokkaido.
But now, it has disappeared.
âIt is not impossible that tiny islands get weathered by the elements,â a coast guard official said.
The disappearance of the island âmay affect Japanâs territorial waters a tiny bit,â she added, but only âif you conduct precision surveys.â
Japan pours resources into protecting its outer islands, particularly the remote Okinotori Island in the Pacific, which secures a significant portion of the nationâs exclusive economic zone.
It is also locked in disputes with neighbors, including China and South Korea, over the sovereignty of several islands in the region.
Prone to earthquakes and severe weather, Japan has found itself not only losing, but sometimes gaining territory thanks to natural disasters and extreme weather.
In 2015, a 300-meter strip of land emerged from the sea and at tached itself to the coast of Hokkaido.
Initially, the phenomenon raised fears of mysterious seismic activity, but geologists said it was probably the result of a landslide that pushed the underwater surface up.
And in 2013, a volcanic island appeared around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Tokyo, engulfing an existing island and continuing to grow.
LATEST NATIONAL STORIES
- Japan plans to accept entry of North Korean sports minster in November
- The government plans to allow the North Korean sports minister to enter the country in late November to attend a meeting connected with the 2020 Games, sources said Saturday. North Korea...
- Japan mulls holding of celebration event next fall for new emperor
- Lawmakers and business leaders plan to hold an event next fall to celebrate the ascension of the new emperor, political sources said Saturday. The celebration will be one of a number of ...
- Testing times for students' English-language ability in Japan
- The education ministry last year announced it would change the common testing system for universities, starting in 2020. A major change is expected to be made to the English-language component of t...