A small uninhabited island called Esanbehanakitakojima was reported to be missing by the residents earlier this year. Satellite images from 2018 show a rocky shoal in the island’s previous position. 30-year-old marine charts listed that the island was roughly 1.5 meters above the sea level and locals in the area also remember the island. An elderly fisherman told the Japanese newspaper, “Around a decade from 1975, there was a small island around there, and we stayed clear of the area.” The island was visible from beaches near Sarufutsu village near the northern tip of Hokkaido.
Japanese authorities are concerned about the loss of the island since this means that Japan’s territorial waters are shrinking. The island was a part of the collection of landmarks which served as a part of the land basis for Japan’s territorial seas. Island was given the name in 2014 to formalize the claim. After the missing Island, Japan’s sea border will now be closer to Hokkaido. The island may have eroded over time, by drift ice and storms in the wintertime. According to Asahi Shimbun, a newspaper in Japan, the island was first reported missing on 1st September by Hiroshi Shimizu, the author of “Hito-zukan” a picture book on hidden islands.
The author traveled to Sarufutsu to see Esanbehanakitakojima as a part of his research to write a sequel, but he couldn’t locate the island. Then he approached the Sarufutsu village fishery cooperative association. A member of the association who is familiar with the area used many charts and tried to find the island. He said that the island could not be located from land or the fishing boats. The coast guard plans to investigate the missing island to make sure that the area is safe for the navigation of boats. It is not common for small islands to disappear due to a combination of erosion and sea level rise.
The Solomon Islands is the Pacific ocean lost five uninhabited reef islands. The Carteret Islands belonging to Papua New Guinea are a set of stands facing this disaster. Many people still live on the islands surviving by catching fish and coconuts. It sounds peaceful to live on an island however with the sea level rise; many families are bound to decide to move to Bougainvillea.