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The government has earmarked ¥5 billion in increased economic assistance to 71 islands off the coast of eight prefectures, as concerns over declining populations are compounded by recurring intrusions into sovereign territory by foreign vessels.

In addition to its four main islands of Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu, plus Okinawa, Japan consists of about 6,800 islands. Of these, 148 are designated “populated border islands,” situated along the border of Japan’s exclusive economic zone and prioritized for fishing and natural resources development.

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