• Kyodo


Continuing volcanic activity near the tiny island of Nishinoshima, some 1,000 km south of Tokyo, has given rise to the possibility that Japan’s exclusive economic zone may expand a fraction.

The “new island” that emerged during a volcanic eruption last year, an event first observed by the Japan Coast Guard in November, grew in size in subsequent weeks as lava kept gushing up. The fresh lava has now completely merged with Nishinoshima.

An aerial observation by the Coast Guard on Monday showed that what used to be a new islet now covers an area of about 30 hectares, meaning it has more than doubled the size of Nishinoshima. Nishinoshima has expanded in its eastern, western and southern portions.

Because no island lies to the west of Nishinoshima, the boundary line of Japan’s EEZ is likely to expand a little, according to the coast guard, which plans to take precise measurements of the island and revise its navigational charts after volcanic activities wind down.

Nishinoshima is an uninhabited islet lying some 130 km west of Chichijima, the largest island in the Ogasawara chain.

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