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Marine Resources 2017 728x90

Island goes missing off Hokkaido

by The Maritime Executive 14 Nov 01:58 UTC
A chart from 1987 shows an island in this position, which is now occupied by what appears to be a rocky shoal © DigitalGlobe

The Japan Coast Guard has launched a search for something that would not ordinarily be hard to find: an island.

A small, uninhabited land feature named Esanbe Hanakita Kojima, once located just off the beach at Sarufutsu, Hokkaido, seems to have disappeared. Residents of Sarufutsu reported the island missing in early October, and local efforts to find it were not successful. Satellite imagery of the site from 2018 shows what appears to be a rocky shoal at the island's former charted position (image above).

Evidence suggests that the island did indeed exist in the past. It appears on charts from 30 years ago, with a listed height above water of about five feet, and residents remember its presence. "Around a decade from 1975, there was a small island around there, and we stayed clear of the area," an elderly fisherman told Asahi Shimbun.

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