One of our islands is missing: Japan ‘loses’ a bit of land

Japan is locked in disputes with neighbors, including China and South Korea, over the sovereignty of several islands such as Senkaku, or Diaoyu in Chinese claims, above. (AFP)
Updated 02 November 2018
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One of our islands is missing: Japan ‘loses’ a bit of land

  • The island, known as Esambe Hanakita Kojima was only officially surveyed and registered by Japan’s coast guard in 1987

TOKYO: 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 country’s territorial waters.
The island, known as Esambe Hanakita Kojima was only officially surveyed and registered by Japan’s coast guard in 1987, who couldn’t even say exactly how big it was.
Until recently, it rose 1.4-meter (four-and-a-half feet) above sea level, and was visible from the very northern tip of Japan’s northern Hokkaido island.
But now, it has disappeared.
“It is not impossible that tiny islands get weathered by the elements,” a coast guard official said.
The disappearance of the island “may affect Japan’s territorial waters a tiny bit,” she added, but only “if you conduct precision surveys.”
Japan pours resources into protecting its outer islands, particularly the remote Okinotori islands in the Pacific, which secures a significant portion of the nation’s 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 attached 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.


Snakes in office force Liberia’s president to work from home

Updated 26 min 32 sec ago
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Snakes in office force Liberia’s president to work from home

  • President George Weah was told to stay away until the Foreign Affairs building can be fumigated
  • Black snakes were seen this week briefly emerging from a hole in a wall of the building’s reception area

MONROVIA, Liberia: A spokesman says Liberia’s president is working from home after two snakes were found in the building that contains his office.
Deputy press secretary Smith Toby tells The Associated Press that former international soccer star and President George Weah was told to stay away until the Foreign Affairs building can be fumigated. He is expected back in the office on Monday.

Weah was a superstar on the pitch in the mid-1990s, particularly during his spell in Italy with AC Milan. (Getty Images)

The black snakes were seen this week briefly emerging from a hole in a wall of the building’s reception area. Liberia is home to poisonous snakes and officials are not taking chances.
The deputy press secretary says the fumigation has begun to take care of “crawling and creeping things.”
Weah, who was FIFA’s 1995 player of the year, assumed the presidency in January 2018.