Japan has recently conducted a survey to count its islands, revealing that it has more than 7,000, double the number previously believed. The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) used digital mapping and the same size criteria as the 1987 Coast Guard report to make the discovery. The survey did not include any land that has been artificially reclaimed.
The island count has implications for two ongoing disputes. First, Japan claims the Southern Kuril Islands, currently controlled by Russia, as Northern Territories. On the other side, Japan has ancient claims to the Senkaku Islands, currently looked over by China. These disputes have led to multiple invasions of Japanese airspace and Chinese and Russian spy jets scrambling.
Japan and South Korea are also in a 70-year-old dispute over the sovereignty of a collection of islets called Dokdo in Seoul and Takeshima near Tokyo. Located in the Sea of Japan, which Korea refers to as the East Sea, the islets are a source of tension between the two countries.