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Japan to name 49 remote small islands

Japan: In a bid to safeguard the integrity of Japan’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the government decided to name 49 remote small islands. So far, they were nameless. The islands will be named by the end of this fiscal year, The Daily Yomiuri reported.

Uninhabited islands are of importance within the 200-nautical-mile EEZ, where a country’s sovereignty prevails in the use, exploration and development of marine resources under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, they said. This is because remote islands can serve as starting points geographically in the demarcation of its EEZ.

Given the increasing assertiveness of China and other countries to beef up maritime influence, the government considers it necessary to further clarify its position to put remote islets under its control.

Earlier, the government had approved a basic policy in December 2009 to bolster efforts to conserve and manage remote islets that can be used as base points in demarcating Japan’s EEZ. About 100 islets were subsequently selected for EEZ base point demarcation, but 49 were found to be nameless according to Geospatial Information Authority of Japan or Japan Coast Guard maps.

Last November, the government surveyed local governments and fishermen’s unions in areas where the islands are located, about their preferred names for the islands. Following the survey, six prefectures, including Hokkaido, gave names to 10 relevant islets, such as Kamomejima (gull islet) in waters off Kinkazan, Miyagi Prefecture; and Todouchi-noshima (shooting sea lions islet) near Rebun Island, Hokkaido.

Source: www.yomiuri.co.jp