According to reports, the tiny Esanbe Hanakita Kojima island in Japan has apparently slipped beneath the waves and the incident first came into light when residents of Saryfutsu, a neighbouring village, found it missing in October, 2018. By Ishani Singh
Named in 2014, Esanabe Hanakita was one of Japan’s 158 uninhabited islands located north of Hokkaido. It fell in the countries’ northern territory of islands, which has been a subject of dispute between the land of the rising sun and Russia. Last inspected in 1987, the piece of land was only 1.4 m above the surface, which could be a possible reason for the Kojima island getting eroded by wind and drift ice that form in the Sea of Okhotsk in the winter season. Sources suggest that the incident surfaced when Hiroshi Shimizu, a Japanese author, made a trip to the village of Sarufutsu to write a book on the hidden islands of Japan. To his disappointment, Shimizu did not find the island and reported the startling absence to the local people after which a search party attempted to locate the island. It is probable that the islet sunk beneath the waves and vanished.
The uncanny incident is a subject of concern because island disappearances have become a common scenario. According to a 2016 study by the Environmental Research Letters, Pacific Ocean’s Solomon Islands’ five reef islands have disappeared between 1947 and 2014. The research cited sea walls and other negative developments in the region as reasons for these incidents since they caused extreme shoreline changes in the territory.
Last month, the East Island in Hawaii was submerged due to the rising sea levels caused by the destructive hurricane Walaka.