The government has completed the nationalization of a total of 273 unclaimed, uninhabited islands that are used as “base points” to determine Japan’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), the Sankei Shimbun learned on April 5. The government has registered these islands as state-owned property. It was also learned for the first time that 257 of the 273 islands are used as base points for territorial waters and 16 are used as base points for the EEZ. The government will disclose this information on April 7. The administration intends to enhance control over territorial waters by clarifying the ownership of these outlying islands.
As a result of surveys and other measures taken by the government last year, the Environment Ministry now administers 43 of the 273 islands as national parks. The Forestry Agency registered 42 islands to be preserved as national forests, and the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry registered 17 islands, including one by the Japan Coast Guard. The Finance Ministry registered 171 islands as ordinary property as there was no particular purpose for the government’s administration.
These uninhabited islands are located in 24 prefectures, with the highest number being in Kagoshima Prefecture at 63, followed by Tokyo at 58 and Hokkaido at 28.
The nationalized islands also include 12 islands around the main island of Okinawa and Miyako Island in Okinawa Prefecture
There were no unclaimed uninhabited islands around Takeshima in Shimane Prefecture or the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, over which South Korea and China claim sovereignty. (Abridged)