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Japan maps disputed northern territories

Japan: Geospatial Information Authority (GSI), Japan, created a set of 13 topographic maps of northern territories. A new relief map of the northern territories had not been created since 1922, when a map was created on a scale of 1:50,000.

The 13 new maps include the maps of the Habomai islet group and the southern part of the long island of Kunashiri. They show structures constructed under Russian control, but such places as Tomarimura or Ichibishinaiko lake on Kunashiri are identified by their Japanese names.

GSI will create seven more new maps to cover central Kunashiri in fiscal 2011, and plans to cover all the northern territories in about 10 years, Youmiuri reports.

According to the report, as the islands were illegally occupied by Russia since the end of World War II, it was impossible to conduct field surveys, so the areas have been left blank on topographic maps.

However, images from the Daichi observation satellite, launched in 2006, have made it possible to create new maps of the areas on a scale of 1:25,000.

A marginal note on each map states, “This map has no effect on Japan’s stance on the northern territories issue.”

In 2007, the authority created a topographic map of the Takeshima islets, which have been illegally occupied by South Korea–on a scale of 1:25,000. After that, only the northern territories remained blank on the nation’s official topographic maps.

Source: www.yomiuri.co.jp