There are 14,125 islands in Japanese territory, more than double the official number of 6,852 since a report by the Japanese Coast Guard in 1987 – according to new digital mapping by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI).
The GSI has recently highlighted that the updated figure for Japan’s land area does not affect the total land under Japanese jurisdiction. Instead, it is a result of advancements in surveying technology and map precision, leading to more accurate measurements of the land’s surface area.
While there is no global agreement on how to quantify islands, the survey utilized the same size standard as the one utilized 35 years ago.
The survey included a criterion that mandated the inclusion of all naturally occurring land areas with a minimum radius of 100 meters (or 330 feet) to be counted.
The revised land area figure does not include any artificially reclaimed land.
Japan’s territorial disputes with neighboring countries are linked to several islands in the surrounding region.
At the end of World War II, Japanese troops were taken captive by Soviet forces. Japan now claims sovereignty over the southern Kuril Islands, which are currently under Russian control. These islands are known in Tokyo as the Northern Territories.
The uninhabited Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea have been a source of dispute, with China challenging Japan’s historical claim to the islands, which are currently under Japanese control.
The sovereignty of a group of islets, referred to as Dokdo by Seoul and Takeshima by Tokyo, in the Sea of Japan (also known as the East Sea by Korea) has been a contentious issue between Japan and South Korea for over 70 years.