You ever find cash in the dryer and realize you’re $20 richer than you thought? What a feeling. Now imagine finding out you have 7,000 more islands than you thought. I’d imagine it’d be damn near euphoric.
That’s the situation Japan has found itself in after a recent island inventory, per a report from CNN. Since 1987, the country has operated under the assumption that — based on a report by its Coast Guard — there were 6,852 islands within Japanese territory. That said, a new digital mapping by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) revealed that there are actually more that double that. There are, in fact, 14,125 islands within Japanese territory, which is certainly a margin (Though, the new figure does not change the overall area of land in Japan’s possession).
“It said that while there is no international agreement on how to count islands, it had used the same size criterion as the previous survey 35 years ago,” Tara Subramaniam wrote. The count apparently takes into consideration all “naturally occurring land areas with a circumference of at least 100 meters.”
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New islands are still discovered from time to time, though exponentially less frequently in 2023 than ever before, which is why the sudden discovery of 7,000 islands is noteworthy, if not also a little bizarre. (How, pray tell, do you not know you have 7,000 islands? In this economy?!)
Of course, there are ways for new islands to crop up — ice retreat, landfills, volcanism and “temporary” islands, chief among them. That said, this does not appear to be the case where the overabundance of new Japanese islands is involved, so much as apparent lack of technology.
Further, Japan is still in dispute with multiple countries over islands it knew it had, so it would be surprising if no one else came forward to lay claim to the new ones. But, at least in the interim, Japan has 7,000 more islands than it did a few weeks ago.
So, anyway, enjoy your dryer dollars!
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