An uninhabited islet, named Esanbe Hanakita Kojima off the coast of Japan is believed to have disappeared under the waves, an event which was completely unnoticed by the people who live in Sarufutsu, which is a village that’s on the northern tip on the main island Hokkaido, just some 500 metres (546 yards) away.
The island was one of the 158 that are in Japanese territory which was uninhabited but was named by the government in 2014 so that they would have an easier time clarifying their territorial reach, as well as extending their exclusive economic zone. The outlying islands that Japan has had lately been more and more important to the country, due to the territorial disputes the country has with China, over the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands that are located in the East China Sea.
The island that silently disappeared was located west of the Northern Territories of Japan, which have been the main point of the long-running dispute between Russia and Japan. The islands are known as the Kurils in Russia. They were also seized from Japan by the Russian Soviet forces just days after the Pacific War ended in 1945.
The author Hiroshi Shimizu was visiting Sarufutsu so he could write a new sequel to the picture book he had already published about the country’s hidden islands when he noticed that the island was no longer visible. He then immediately notified the local fisheries cooperative, which then sent out boats to the supposed location, only to see that the entire island really was missing.
According to the Japanese coastguard, this island was last surveyed back in 1987, when it was only 1.4 meters (4.5 feet) above the water surface, which made the experts believe that the entire island had been eroded by the drift ice and the winds that form in the sea each winter.
However, this country isn’t the only one that has recently lost an entire island from their territory. There was a small piece of the United States, a remote island named East Island, which went completely underwater after Hurricane Walake hit Hawaii last month. And there have been plenty of other islands all over the globe that have been slowly disappearing due to erosion from the rising sea levels.