An island has gone missing off the coast of northern Japan, according to the country's coastguard. The uninhabited island, known as Esambe Hanakita Kojima, was only officially surveyed and registered by Japan's coastguard in 1987.
Until recently, it rose 1.4 meters above sea level so it could easily have been worn away by waves. The island was located about 500 meters from the very northern tip of Hokkaido island and was visible from its shore.
But now, it has disappeared.
'It is not impossible that islands get weathered by the elements,' a coastguard official told AFP.
The disappearance of the island 'may affect Japan's territorial waters a tiny bit,' she added, but only 'if you conduct precision surveys'.
Japan pours resources into protecting its outer islands, particularly the remote Okinotori islands in the Pacific, which secures a significant portion of the nation's exclusive economic zone.
It is also locked in disputes with China and South Korea over the sovereignty of several islands in the region.
Japan is prone to earthquakes and severe weather and has found itself not only losing, but sometimes gaining territory thanks to natural disasters and extreme weather.
In 2015, a 300-meter strip of land emerged from the sea and attached itself to the coast of Hokkaido. Initially, the phenomenon raised fears of mysterious seismic activity, but geologists said it was probably the result of a landslide that pushed the underwater surface up.
And in 2013, a volcanic island appeared around 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Tokyo, engulfing an existing island and continuing to grow.