Japanese Island Disappears Without Notice

The tiny island was likely eroded away by wind and drifting ice.

An island off the coast of Japan has disappeared. (Wikipedia)

The Japanese island of Esanbe Hanakita Kojima has vanished — and it took a little while for anyone to notice.

The specific location of the tiny, uninhabited island — about 500 miles off the northeast coast of mainland Japan — is significant because of constant territorial disputes among the region’s nations: mainly Japan, China and Russia. Esanbe’s “disappearance” shortens Japan’s northeasterly reach.

Locals in Sarufutsu, a small town on the main island closest to Esanbe, were alerted to the island’s possible disappearance in September when author Hiroshi Shimizu visited the village, The Guardian reported.

He noticed a blank space in the ocean where the island once sat and notified local authorities, who then sent out an expedition, leading to the discovery. It was determined that the island was likely eroded and chipped away over time. The Japanese coast guard said the island was last surveyed in 1987 and  could have been shrinking since then.

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