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

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.


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.