Japan has twice as many islands as previously known

More than 14,000

Oops, Japan has twice as many islands as previously known

Seek and you will find – there is something to this saying: In Japan, National Geographic Information Service employees searched for islands – and found thousands of new ones.


Fairy Annabelle Ribling


An underwater volcanic eruption added an island to Japan in 2021. At that time, the Japanese Coast Guard discovered a new land mass near the Ogasawara Archipelago.

20 minutes

  • The recount in the islands of Japan resulted in a surprise.

  • Instead of about 7,000 islands known to date, the island nation has about twice as many.

  • Unlike in the past, those responsible for the current survey rely on technology.

  • The final screening result will be announced in March 2023.

Japan is an island country. This means: the country It consists of thousands of islands. Until now, the responsible authorities have assumed that Japan consists of 7,273 islands. Every now and then, some are added and others are lost due to changes in the Earth. in 2018 They searched the land for the island of Isambi Hanakita Kojima. In 2021, it is caused by a new volcanic eruption (see video).

indeed Despite events such as volcanic eruptions and storms The total number has remained relatively unchanged over the past 35 years. That’s what people thought — and they were wrong: When they saw them using digital mapping technology, the staff of Japan’s Geospatial Information Authority (GSI) came up with an impressive number of 14,125. So to about twice what it was before. This was reported by Guardian.com and Japanese media.

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About 14,000 instead of about 7,000: Japan has more islands than previously thought. (Pictured: Japanese islands taken from the Kerama chain of islands in Okinawa)

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In fact, more than 100,000 islands have been discovered

According to reports, the authority will present the final results of the digital analysis in the coming weeks. The target is March this year. It is still not clear if the number announced now will remain. Until then, GSI has to make final adjustments, so the exact number can change slightly.

According to Kyodo News Agency Japanese Coast Guard Islets greater than 100 m in circumference were still counted manually in the last inventory in 1987. Islets in lagoons or sandbanks in rivers were not included. This was different in the current survey. In total, GSI employees have explored more than 100,000 natural islands. But like then, only those over 100 meters in circumference were included in the count.

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