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Okinotorishima and EEZ: Dispute and relevance


  1. Is a Japanese uninhabited coral atoll
  2. Its dry land area is mostly made up by three concrete encasings
  3. It houses a Japanese research station.
  4. It is located on the Palau- Kyushu Ridgein the Philippines Sea, Pacific Ocean.
  5. After Japan’s defeat during 2nd World War, USA assumed sovereignty over the island
  6. USA returned authority over the islands to Japan in 1968 under Treaty of San Francisco.
  7. It lies at a militarily strategic point, midway between Taiwan and Guam where US forcesare based
  8. Japan claims 200 nm of EEZ around this atoll and this claim is disputed by South Korea, China and Taiwan, on the ground that
  • The atoll does not meet the definition of an island under the United Nations Convention on Law of Sea (UNCLOS).
  • UNCLOS does not provide EEZ around Atolls and inhabited
  1. Under UNCLOS, an island is “a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide”. It states that “rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone.”
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