Lost and Found: Japan Discovers 7,000 Unmapped Islands


Key Takeaways

  • Japan discovered 7,000 more islands than previously accounted for in a recent mapping effort.
  • These newly identified islands do not alter Japan’s total landmass but reflect technological advancements in mapping.
  • The discovery follows a measurement standard that includes naturally occurring land with over 100 meters of circumference.
  • Japan’s historical land disputes with neighboring countries, like the Senkaku Islands and Dokdo/Takeshima, continue to strain international relations.

Tokyo, Japan–Japan has discovered 7,000 islands it never officially knew it had after a recent government-authorized recount.

Discovery of New Islands

According to a CNN report, Japan found these islands after a digital mapping conducted by the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan revealed the actual value of the number of islands in the country. 

A similar mapping done in 1987, approximately 35 years ago, revealed Japan had 6,852 islands in its sovereign territory, 7,000 less than current numbers. 

Authorities in the island nation revealed that the discovery does not increase the country’s total landmass. The new figure reflects technological advances and details of the map used during the previous survey.

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They also stated that while there wasn’t any international agreement on how to count islands, Japan used the same measurement standard as the survey in 1987, which included any naturally occurring land with more than 100 meters of circumference (excluding artificially reclaimed lands).

Nijima, Tokyo. Photo by Sunil Naik on Unsplash.

Territorial Disputes and Natural Marvels

Japan has historically conflicted with neighbors about land claims regarding many islands. Some of them include the following:

  • The Senkaku Islands, located in the East China Sea, are currently administered by Japan; however, China has continued to lay claim to the island.
  •  The islands known as ‘Dokdo’ by South Korea and ‘Takeshima’ by Japan have been a source of tension between the two countries for decades. 
  •  Japan also claims the Russian-held Southern Kuril islands, referred to as the northern territories in Japan. The dispute goes back to the end of the Second World War when the Soviet troops took the islands from Japan.
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The Japanese archipelago is home to many not-so-famous natural marvels, including a surfers’ haven island called Nijima (image below), a mere three-hour ferry ride from downtown Tokyo.

The Kochi prefecture is yet another beautiful region, infamous among the country’s surfer community, which recently launched a global tourism promotional campaign. 

What We Think

Japan’s revelation of previously uncounted islands underscores the evolving nature of geographical knowledge and mapping technologies.

While not altering landmass, this discovery highlights Japan’s complex territorial disputes with neighboring nations. The persistent tensions over various island claims pose ongoing diplomatic challenges.

Amidst these territorial complexities, Japan’s lesser-known natural wonders, like Nijima and Kochi, offer glimpses into the country’s diverse and captivating landscapes, serving as potential tourist attractions and illustrating the multifaceted nature of Japan’s geographical richness.


Victor Utomi
Victor Utomi
Victor is passionate about aviation, travel, nature, and crypto. He constantly explores new ideas and pushes the boundaries of what's possible. Whether he is reporting on the latest developments in the aviation industry, writing about adventures in exotic locales, advocating for environmental sustainability, or delving into the world of digital currencies, he is constantly seeking new challenges and opportunities for growth and inspiring others to do the same.


  1. Whoa that’s crazy Victor. I guess Japan misplaced 7000 islands LOL. Seriously though, it is genuinely amazing to see a modernized nation discover this incredible volume of islands through technology. The world is far bigger and mysterious than we know. People seem to figure this out a little bit more on a daily basis. Thanks for sharing brother.



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