In a bizarre incident, a Japanese island has gone missing. Yes, you read it right! The nation has reportedly lost a little island situated on its border with Russia and the coast guard is now searching for it.
The island of Esanbe Hanakita Kojima is one of Japan's 158 uninhabited islands and was surveyed and registered in 1987. It is known to have risen about four-and-a-half feet above sea level, and could be seen from the northern tip of the Hokkaido island.
However, the land is now nowhere to be found and it is feared that it could have been washed away by natural elements. "It is not impossible that tiny islands get weathered by the elements," a coastguard official told the Agence France-Presse.
Even though the island of Esanbe Hanakita Kojima was uninhabited, due to which there are no fears of loss of lives, it was strategically placed increasing the area of Japanese territory. However, the area may now shrink as international laws specify that an area can be included in a nation's territory only if it can be seen above the sea.
The disappearance of the island "may affect Japan's territorial waters a tiny bit," the official added, but only "if you conduct precision surveys."
Strangely, no one, not even the inhabitants of nearby islands, noticed the disappearance of the Esanbe Hanakita Kojima island, and the issue blew up only when author Hiroshi Shimizu realised that the strip of land was missing, reported the Telegraph UK.
Shimizu was visiting the area in September as part of research for his new book and raised an alarm. He then informed about the island's disappearance to the local fishery cooperative association. The association then investigated the matter and confirmed that the island also couldn't be seen from the boats at sea.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time that an island has disappeared. East Island, an 11-acre island in Hawaii, in known to have gone missing after the region was hit by a strong hurricane. Rising sea levels due to global warming is also said to be one of the reasons behind the sinking of islands.