March 29, 2023

Japan’s island number could more than double after a recount found 7,000 unknown islands

1 min read

Geographers say the number of islands in Japan is expected to more than double after a recount of its islands, Kyodo News reported.

A total of 7,000 more islands Japan didn’t know existed were found through digital mapping by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI). The agency used advanced technology cross-referenced with past aerial photos to conduct the recount.

The discovery is expected to raise the nation’s number of islands, which is based on a 1987 Japan Coast Guard study, from 6,852 islands to 14,125, Kyodo News reported.

The final figure could change as the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan finalizes a report expected to be released next month.

The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea defines islands as a “naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide.”

Will this change Japan’s territory size?

While the new figure reflected advances in surveying technology, it did not change the overall area of land in Japan’s possession, GSI said this week.

The total size of the nation’s territory is calculated using the same method, “irrespective of the listed islands,” according to the Tokyo-based news outlet.

The government has used a figure from a 1987 survey by the Japanese Coast Guard, Kyodo News reported. The newly mapped islands, which are at least 330 feet in circumference, could lead to change in educational materials, the outlet said.