Japan Discovers 7,000 More Islands Through Digital Mapping
Japan has just made an incredible discovery, revealing that it has 7,000 more islands than previously thought. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) made the discovery through digital mapping, finding 14,125 islands compared to the 6,852 islands it recorded in 1987. The GSI pointed out that the new tally was possible with the use of advanced technology along with detailed maps used, but that it did not change the overall area of land in Japan’s possession.
Using the same procedure, the GSI determined the number of islands which have a circumference of 100 meters (330 feet) or more and were naturally formed. To confirm Japan's territory, the same methods of calculation were employed by the GSI, but aerial photos were added and prior maps were consulted to make sure no artificially reclaimed land was included.
The islands around Japan have been at the heart of several territorial disputes. Japan has long asserted their ownership of the Southern Kuril Islands, which are currently under Russian control and referred to by Tokyo as the Northern Territories. This contention has been ongoing since the end of World War II, when the Soviet Union forcibly took them from Japan. Japan maintains a claim to the uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which it administers, yet China has consistently questioned this claim. A bitter dispute between Japan and South Korea, concerning the sovereignty of a set of islets, has been in effect for over 70 years. Referred to as Dokdo by South Korea and Takeshima by Japan, the islets are located in the Sea of Japan, which Korea refers to as the East Sea.
Reporting was contributed by Junko Ogura of CNN.
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