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Japan finds major rare earth deposits

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Not so rare after all!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japan needs to make sure the neighbors don't move in on this reserve just as they are trying to do with natural gas. There is nothing new about slant drilling to take gas and oil. Be aware.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

noriyosan73Jun. 30, 2012 - 07:21AM JST

Japan needs to make sure the neighbors don't move in on this reserve just as they are trying to do with natural gas

2000 Kms from the mainland of Japan and it's Japanese, wtf!!!!!!

Why don't we give the whole Pacific Ocean to Japan and be done with it?

-24 ( +4 / -28 )

2000 Kms from the mainland of Japan and it's Japanese, wtf!!!!!!

Hey it's over 1500 km from Tokyo to Okinawa yet you wouldnt complain if they found it down here. Minamitorishima is a part of Japan so I don't understand why just because of the distance from the mainland it should matter.

Japan is an island country if you didnt know.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Thats a fantastic bit of news. Means we won't have to depend on China now which is good incase relations take a massive nose dive.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

YubaruJun. 30, 2012 - 07:44AM JST

Hey it's over 1500 km from Tokyo to Okinawa yet you wouldnt complain if they found it down here.

Okinawa is an Island/group of islands, Minamitorishima is a coral atoll. It is very disputable whether Japan's claim for 428,875 square kilometres of the Pacific ocean as an exclusive economic zone, based on Minamitorishima being an island, would be upheld in an international court.

-22 ( +4 / -26 )

Pretty awesome, but

enough to supply its hi-tech industries for more than 200 years

That projection can only be a projection based on current usage amounts, which in 5 years time will mean nothing the way usage rates are increasing. But either way it sounds like great news.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Dog "2000 Kms from the mainland of Japan and it's Japanese, wtf"

Non-sense, If it's within 200 nautical miles from any part of Japan, then it belongs to Japan. This is the law of the sea that is applied to every country, not just Japan.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Pretty awesome, but

enough to supply its hi-tech industries for more than 200 years

That projection can only be a projection based on current consumption amounts, which in 5 years time will mean nothing the way usage rates are increasing. But either way it sounds like great news.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Don't get too excited folks. I'm sure tomorrow like clockwork we'll read about China's preceding claim to it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hide SuzukiJun. 30, 2012 - 08:15AM JST

Non-sense, If it's within 200 nautical miles from any part of Japan, then it belongs to Japan. This is the law of the sea that is applied to every country, not just Japan.

The closest Japanese island is South Iwo Jima island which is 1,267 kilometres (787 mi) away from the Minamitorishima coral atoll. Go look at a map.

Japan is a greedy country who invents its own truths and expects everyone else to live by them. It might work in Tokyo and on NHK, but fails on the big stage. These deposits belong to the Marianna Islands, if they belong to anyone, because the closest Islands to them are the Maug Islands of the Mariana Islands, which is 1,015 kilometres (631 mi) west south-west of Minami-Tori-Shima.

Don't hold your breath Japan, America might soon have a say very soon on who gets these deposits and Japan can play the victim again.... South Korea/Dokdo ......China and Taiwan/ Diaoyu Islands..... Russia/South Kuriles... and now... Will nobody understand this unique country with its unique truths?

-22 ( +5 / -27 )

The other day, the news said they found a large oil field off the coast of Niigata, and this time they found a large amount of rare earth deposits under the seabed but very deep water. It seems that Japan has a lot of natural resources and would not have to import them from other countries in the future.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If true, a world cup victory-esque achievement. Good to know with all the series of depressing events these days we can become lucky every once in a while.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's great! Maybe this will help put Japan ahead of China again

4 ( +6 / -2 )

kwatt Jun. 30, 2012 - 08:32AM JST. It seems that Japan has a lot of natural resources and would not have to import them from other countries in the future.

It's all depends on economics. It might still be cheaper even ten years from now for many of the companies to import from China and other countries for their needs. Drilling 18,000 feet is a costly process, and it might not be economically feasible unless the rare earth becomes of short supply and prices skyrockets.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's all depends on economics. It might still be cheaper even ten years from now for many of the companies to import from China and other countries for their needs. Drilling 18,000 feet is a costly process, and it might not be economically feasible unless the rare earth becomes of short supply and prices skyrockets.

It's rather ironic that they are called rare earths because the one thing they are not is rare in abundance. What makes them limited at present is the process by which they are extracted and separated from the soil. It's a dirty and unhygenic process which until now China was the only country prepared to do. Both the Vietnamese and Malaysians have large deposits of rare earths, but the locals seem unwilling to exploit because of health/pollution reasons.

-20 ( +2 / -22 )

Great news for Japan, but I hope they (companies like Honda) are still planning to use the materials better and will not just increase usage because it's there. This is a great chance for Japan, if they can successfully mine it, and I hope they use it wisely. The fact that it's likely a burr in China's saddle has got to be sweet as well. China will likely suddenly ease it's export rules on the materials until Japan can start mining in order to get the most that they can while Japan still needs it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

kwatt: "It seems that Japan has a lot of natural resources and would not have to import them from other countries in the future."

I wouldn't go THAT far. I would say it seems that Japan has MORE natural resources than they thought, but there's still a LOT of work to be done, and a LOT of money to be spent to get at them. Also, these are fuel resources and materials to make goods, not food or anything like that -- Japan still needs to import a great many things even if they can get at these things. Drilling for the rare earth materials will be no easy task, and I predict a good number of problems before they are successful. Still, you could call it a kind of insurance that the resources are there, and you're correct that there are probably even more not yet discovered.

Like I said in my last post, though, I hope these discoveries don't stop R&D on alternative energy and renewable resources. It would be a shame if they sat back, sighed, and thought they could shelve moving forward.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan is a greedy country who invents its own truths and expects everyone else to live by them. It might work in Tokyo and on NHK, but fails on the big stage. These deposits belong to the Marianna Islands, if they belong to anyone, because the closest Islands to them are the Maug Islands of the Mariana Islands, which is 1,015 kilometres (631 mi) west south-west of Minami-Tori-Shima.

Japan has laid claim to that atoll for over 100 years and is internationally recognized as being the property of Japan. The US took it over in the aftermath of WWII but returned the island to Japan in1968

The Empire of Japan officially annexed the island July 24, 1898,[3] the previous United States claim from 1889 according to the Guano Islands Act not being officially acknowledged. The island was official named “Minami-Tori-Shima” and placed administratively under the Ogasawara Subprefecture of Tokyo.

If one is to use your argument as the basis for disputing Japan's right of possession then I guess England would still be the owner of the eastern seaboard of the USA.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

dog:

Why don't we give the whole Pacific Ocean to Japan and be done with it?

I was quite surprised when I first saw the size of Japan's EEZ on a map.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

YubaruJun. 30, 2012 - 09:13AM JST

Japan has laid claim to that atoll for over 100 years and is internationally recognized as being the property of Japan. The US took it over in the aftermath of WWII but returned the island to Japan in1968

Japan can lay claim to whatever it likes, but it doesn't write the international narrative. It thinks it does and that the cause of japan's problem with its neighbors. This is one more territorial dispute waiting to happen for Japan. It might think the Pacific, or a lot of it, is a japanese lake, there for its exclusive exploitation, but others think otherwise and the others are bigger fish in the lake.

-20 ( +3 / -23 )

Japan found it inside the Japan's EEZ and there is no overlaps of EEZ of other coutries EEZ, So there is no dispute on Minamitorishima island.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan can lay claim to whatever it likes, but it doesn't write the international narrative.

You know that the same argument could be made for just about any country anywhere.

Instead of just spouting off rhetoric about the issue why not put some facts down here to support your premise that Japan does not have a right to ownership. Seems to me that no one, besides you here, dispute the fact of ownership.

Sure Japan has territorial disputes (ongoing) with it's neighbors, but to my knowledge none exist on this island.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

It does not belong to Japan or anyone unless we invoke the "finder's keepers" rule. Minamitorishima does not count as an island and is not legally claimable territory. The deposit is not within anyone's EEZ.

No one has challenged Japan's ridiculous claim yet. But that does not make the claim valid.

I'm sure tomorrow like clockwork we'll read about China's preceding claim to it.

Nothing but anti-China bluster. China will not make a claim to the non-island. It does not need to. Anyone could go mining there, whether China or Iceland, because Japan has no valid claim.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

So there is no dispute on Minamitorishima island.

There is also no dispute on my claim to the planet Neptune. That does not make it a valid claim.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

YubaruJun. 30, 2012 - 09:48AM JST

Instead of just spouting off rhetoric about the issue why not put some facts down here to support your premise that Japan does not have a right to ownership.

If you could read. you would see that I have.

A coral atoll, 2000 kms from Japan and nearly a 1000 kms from the nearest Japanese island is in international waters and open to exploitation from any country in the world. Heck, Japan follows the same argument every winter with its whale hunts.

If anybody has any claim to the atoll, which they don't because its in international waters, it would be the Northern Marianas because the closest island to the atoll is a northern Marianas' island.

The problem here is not a territorial issue but that japan is trying to claim something that belongs to all (because the atoll is in international waters) and any future dispute might well arise when others try to exploit what is equally theirs but Japan, with its unique narrative on the size of its EEZ, says it's Japan's alone.

Britain tried the same trick in the 70ss and 80s, with the Rockall, but bowed out gracefully by the 90s. The problem with the Japanese is that they might know how to bow but bowing out is not in the national narrative.

-26 ( +0 / -26 )

The closest Japanese island is South Iwo Jima island which is 1,267 kilometres (787 mi) away from the Minamitorishima coral atoll. Go look at a map.

Japan is a greedy country who invents its own truths and expects everyone else to live by them. It might work in Tokyo and on NHK, but fails on the big stage. These deposits belong to the Marianna Islands.

There's no particularly strong logic to the US control of territories strung out over the Pacific thousands of miles from the American continent - Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, Samoa, the Mariana Islands (surprise surprise), and some uninhabited or barely inhabited atolls that they have sensitively landscaped.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wake_Island_air.JPG

It's a fact of life though that countries may have possession of such distant places. Possibly an unjust one, but it's not necessarily more unjust that one of those countries is Japan.

-17 ( +0 / -17 )

I messed up the quote format, but this is the one I intended to use:

The closest Japanese island is South Iwo Jima island which is 1,267 kilometres (787 mi) away from the Minamitorishima coral atoll. Go look at a map. Japan is a greedy country who invents its own truths and expects everyone else to live by them. It might work in Tokyo and on NHK, but fails on the big stage. These deposits belong to the Marianna Islands.

-18 ( +0 / -18 )

It does not belong to Japan or anyone unless we invoke the "finder's keepers" rule. Minamitorishima does not count as an island and is not legally claimable territory. The deposit is not within anyone's EEZ.

It counts as an island because the difference between an island and an atoll is the reef which surrounds it.

Finder's keeper's rule huh? That's how much of the world's countries got started, they found it, they kept it. Your argument holds no water.

You are basing your argument on distance from any other land mass. Then I guess Hawaii is too far away from the mainland US for the US to lay claim to it right?

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Well, let's hope these deposits are far enough away from anywhere that they do not have to worry too much about how to process the by-products.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Opinionhated

Okay, let you have Neptune if you can control it, and let you dig it as much as you want. I don't mind about it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Okay, let you have Neptune if you can control it, and let you dig it as much as you want. I don't mind about it.

Well its not about me and you kwatt. Its about me and everybody else.

And as for your "if your can control it" comment, now you invite war. That is the very concern, that Japan will attempt to keep others from mining by use of force, since their claim does not meet international standards.

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

Japan have been controlling the Minamitorishima island for many decades before and after the war. There are an important Air SDF base stationed and meteorological observatory there.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Awesome news! Good for Japan!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Oh great, now the ocean floor is going to get strip-mined so brain-dead teenage girls can have more keitai to play with.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My bad, I thought we were talking about those submerged rocks in the ocean Japan wants to claim. This is actually an island and does have an airstrip. I am still in doubt about it being applicable for an EEZ claim though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think the Japanese government should put a new map of the country including the bodies of water between the mainland and the recognized as Japanese little lost islands. That would be cool, i mean they could start building bridges and drive at the speed of the autobhan or make super casinos at the top of ancient volcanoes. Make secret banks, or create a new kingdom or empire !!But way to go Japan you had the precious stuff written in your destiny. I wonder which wizard engineer came up with the ideas to stake out that specific spot. Long live DY 66,,,,, on Toyota's Hybrids.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

But Japan, the European Union and the United States claim China is unfairly benefiting its own industries by restricting exports.

In another context wouldn't this be called good business by China? On the other hand Australia just digs stuff out the ground and sells it to any one.

Its interesting that many have noted that 2000km away is too far but no one has considered for example England and the Falkland Islands(opposite sides of the world) for one not to mention the US controlled territories like GUAM and the other miriad of French and Uk colonies which are way beyond 2000 km and any geographical relation ship.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hawaii springs to mind also 51st state?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

scoobydooJun. 30, 2012 - 11:25AM JST

Its interesting that many have noted that 2000km away is too far but no one has considered for example England and the Falkland Islands(opposite sides of the world) for one not to mention the US controlled territories like GUAM and the other miriad of French and Uk colonies which are way beyond 2000 km and any geographical relation ship.

The British don't claim that the Falklands are Britain, they claim that they are British. There's a big difference to what the Japanese are doing.

America doesn't claim all the Pacific ocean between San Fransisco and Honalulu as part of its exclusive economic zone. Again there's a big difference to what Japan is doing.

kwattJun. 30, 2012 - 10:47AM JST

Japan have been controlling the Minamitorishima island for many decades before and after the war. There are an important Air SDF base stationed and meteorological observatory there.

And by your logic the Moon is American because they are the only ones who landed on there and placed there flag there.

Look, japan might dictate its national narrative in any ridiculous terms it wishes (a unique people with a unique culture who were the innocent victims of the worst war crime committed in human history in 1945) but it cannot and will not be able to dictate the international narrative. One part of that narrative it wishes all others to understand is that 400,000 square km of the pacific ocean is for its exclusive economic use only.

It better learn soon, or its going to learn painfully.

-21 ( +2 / -23 )

The only dispute was with the USA and they returned the island in 1968. I wonder why the descendants were never allowed to return. The national government of Japan stole their island.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

I also think it's ridiculous that Japan, depsite being a small country, claims a massive exclusive economic zone, even larger than mexico. Minamitorishima is not an island, but a coral atoll, so Japan shouldn't be able to claim such a large are. Either way, I'm much more concerned at the inevitable environmental destruction that will come from mining rare earth. I expect a retaliation from environmental groups to protect wildlife in the coral lagoon.

-16 ( +3 / -19 )

The British don't claim that the Falklands are Britain, they claim that they are British.

That is stupid thinking especially considering the expense the Brits spent on the Falklands war to assert their claim which would essentially mean that if they found rare earth they would certainly take it. Not so different at all.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Minamitorishima=Marcus island for all those WWII buffs who are too lazy to google it. And yes it is very much a Japanese island.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Dog going on your theory then Falkland islands belong to Argentina, you need to wake up and see reality son.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

ExportExpertJun. 30, 2012 - 01:54PM JST

Dog going on your theory then Falkland islands belong to Argentina,

I think most people, including me, would agree that the Malvinas belong to Argentina.

-22 ( +1 / -23 )

Japan needs to have some resources, What is at stake is our national survival!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yes, true national survival !! But why doesn't the Japanese government create a system that encourages young couples to marry and have children. Obvious question, everybody has been brainwashed through the young years of heavy partying,,,thus nurturing a culture of transient relationships. And love has been so commercialized. As the Beatles said " all you need is cash !! Cash is all you need !! And at least 2 mobiles, and fake cheetah hot pants !!! And what about the web flooded with insane bukkake scenes. I think Japan should start to make movies that make sense !!! Educate their young people And start snatching condos in Canada to have Chinese and Korean neighbors part II .When in 2050 we will all be living in yellow submarines !! Because there is hole in me pocket, and a hole in the cosmic mind !

-12 ( +0 / -12 )

Just takes one more quake and the whole lot goes. The sea belongs to no one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Congratulations to Japan. Every natural resource counts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan may get acquainted with the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) thanks to those leeches at the UN. No, the US hasn't signed it yet and any Senator who votes to ratify that thing will need to update their resume.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Great location, Japan can exploit the deposit without worrying about pollution !! Pacific ocean is so big you can pollute at will. AND the current will carry the pollutants to the west coast of America . Just balmy !!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Earlier I was thinking of Okinotorishima, the claim on which is just preposterous. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinotorishima

This island really is an island, but still no EEZ claim is actually valid because it cannot sustain "human habitation or an economy of their (its) own." But I can totally see the U.N. ignoring that fact in favor of Japan

The British don't claim that the Falklands are Britain, they claim that they are British.

Its a side issue. The core issue is that the PEOPLE OF THE FALKLANDS want to be British, and the UK accepts. Minamitorishima has no "people", as in civilian permanent residents. This compares to the Falklands not at all, because location and continental shelves are irrelevant when there are a people living there. That is why the United States can't claim Canada, despite a massive land border.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

The article does not even mention sovereignty so why are people bringing it up?

Anyway at what point, if any, does distance have a bearing on such things?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -"Rocks, which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own, shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf." Japan signed and ratified this very treaty. Both okinotorishimo and minamitorishima are rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life on their own. This complete disregard for international law will definitely not go unnoticed.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Bob SneiderJun. 30, 2012 - 09:00PM JST

This complete disregard for international law will definitely not go unnoticed.

The way japan disregards international law and those judgements that go against them is quite frightening.

In May this year the United Nation's commission on the Limits of Continental Shelf ruled against Japan concerning the Okinotori Atoll being classified as an Island. How did the Japanese media and politicians react? They just totally ignored the UN's decision, as if it had never happened and because 99,9% of the Japanese population are totally inept in any language other than Japanese, the majority of the japanese are totally unaware that there was even a UN ruling concerning Okinotori, even though Japan brought the issue before the UN and a few weeks previous to the decision the Japanese media and politicians were harking on about how the UN was about to support japan's stance of Okinotori being an island.

Once the decision was made and it went against Japan, there was total silence.

It says a lot about Japan's behaviour on the international stage and why this country's elites are happy to have a monolingual population, inept in English.

Meanwhile millions of our taxes keep being spent yearly on coral seeding and cementing the Okinitori atoll and NHK keeps refering to the Okinotori Island.

-17 ( +1 / -18 )

Bob SneiderJun. 30, 2012 - 09:00PM JST

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea -"Rocks, which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own, shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf." Japan signed and ratified this very treaty. Both okinotorishimo and minamitorishima are rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life on their own. This complete disregard for international law will definitely not go unnoticed.

You mean the one that can just be fixed by placing a military house with one guy stationed on it?

The issue here is Japan having access to rare earth metal ores that China is currently illegally limiting for massive profits and forcing companies to set up shop in China. If China is openly willing to break the law, I can't see why Japan can't just bend it a bit.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Pet project of the professor? Finding the deposits, that may exist under the ocean floor in many locations all over the world, is one thing, but responsible exploitation is another.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@basroil

You mean the one that can just be fixed by placing a military house with one guy stationed on it?

The issue here is Japan having access to rare earth metal ores that China is currently illegally limiting for massive profits and forcing companies to set up shop in China. If China is openly willing to break the law, I can't see why Japan can't just bend it a bit.

"sustain human habitation or economic life of their own"- minamitorishima cannot sustain a human population or economy ON ITS OWN. By your logic, any country could place a landing pad on a rock and claim it as an island. Also, the "military house" is currently nonexistant with the coral atoll currently sustaining a population of zero.

Japan should not bend the laws, because if they were to drill out the resources in question, they would only use for their purposes. Any country would be justified to break rules for their own gain.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

In the wild west of the USA, "Possession is 9/10th of the law" has always been the rule. Japan needs to control it and protect it. The problem is how does Japan protect anything not on the islands?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Finding a rare-earth supply in Japan's own backyard is a bit of good news.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

America doesn't claim all the Pacific ocean between San Fransisco and Honalulu as part of its exclusive economic zone. Again there's a big difference to what Japan is doing.

Could you care to expound upon this statement? IF it is so there is literally nothing between Hawaii and the US mainland that bothers mentioning. For Japan however there are valuable fishing grounds and the potential of other natural resources.

Who in their right mind would even attempt to try to lay a claim to the ocean between Hawaii and california? Good luck to any and all who do try...it's suicide.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

America doesn't claim all the Pacific ocean between San Fransisco and Honalulu as part of its exclusive economic zone. Again there's a big difference to what Japan is doing.

Dog: Where the hell is "Honalulu"? I know "Honolulu", but don't know "Honalulu"? I take it you don't know a thing about the Aloha state and the waters between it and California.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

usually that stuff gets divided on a first come first serve and my air and sea power is bigger than yours basis. I don't see why this would go anywhere else since it involves nothing but humans. The planet actually 'belongs' to no one, not to everyone. If the claim ain't strong enough and it can't be backed up it might just become more trouble than not having it. Too bad it's portrayed as 'necessary' for iphones, not as 'necessary for advanced space exploration devices' and such ... who the hell wants more iphones except apple ? resources get wasted on toys instead on projects to get to places where there's so many available you couldnt get through in fifity generations

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bob SneiderJun. 30, 2012 - 11:16PM JST

"sustain human habitation or economic life of their own"- minamitorishima cannot sustain a human population or economy ON ITS OWN. By your logic, any country could place a landing pad on a rock and claim it as an island. Also, the "military house" is currently nonexistant with the coral atoll currently sustaining a population of zero.

That pretty much means any island can't be owned. Most small islands with a population greater than 1 per sq km simply cannot support human habitation or economy. This place though, can support an economy since it has minerals that can be mined, so the "or" is the catch I guess.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

That pretty much means any island can't be owned. Most small islands with a population greater than 1 per sq km simply cannot support human habitation or economy.

???? Any island can be owned. But it may or may not be allowed an EEZ.

Most small islands with a population greater than 1 per sq km simply cannot support human habitation or economy

???? Populations are not defined in square km. And if the rules are inconvenient, tough. Those are the rules. Islands too small don't get an EEZ. The purpose is to avoid ridiculous overlapping claims and the conflicts that come with them, mostly out of pure greed.

This place though, can support an economy since it has minerals that can be mined,

???? So are the people going to eat, drink and cook with the minerals? The island does not meet the criteria because it is totally reliant on weekly deliveries, in other words, nothing even close to self-sufficiency is possible.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"sustain human habitation or economic life of their own"- minamitorishima cannot sustain a human population or economy ON ITS OWN. By your logic, any country could place a landing pad on a rock and claim it as an island. Also, the "military house" is currently nonexistant with the coral atoll currently sustaining a population of zero.

There are plenty of islands like the one you describe here that are inhabited and sustain life because man has made it so. Do you think the senkaku islands, using your definition, are not islands?

There is a population on the island, while it's transient, there are people living and working there. I'm sure if the government decided to spend the money on it, it could develop something more as well.

It's a matter of choice not to that's all. If man can grow grass in the desert I am quite sure that they could do the same on that island as well.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm pretty sure those that are whining that Japan has no right to this rare-earth find, would continue to whine no matter where it was found. They would whine even if it was found in Nagano, and say something like "Nagano belongs to North Korea", or something like that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm pretty sure those that are whining that Japan has no right to this rare-earth find,

Nobody said Japan had "no right". The question is if Japan has an "exclusive right". The difference is night and day, but its all the same according to the blind.

Japan is welcome to mine there, but so is China, Iceland, Tuvalu, your grandmother, your dog...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Do you think the senkaku islands, using your definition, are not islands?

Please try and keep up. Some parts of the Senkakus are islands, and some are just rocks. The largest island Uotsuri may or may not qualify for an EEZ, but I am guessing not if the proof is in the pudding: nobody lives there. Probably no one could without outside assistance.

There is a population on the island, while it's transient

IE, they don't live there, ie, there are no people of Minamitorishima, ie there is no "population" in the usual sense of the word.

If man can grow grass in the desert I am quite sure that they could do the same on that island as well.

Talk is cheap. I can imagine terraforming the moon. That does not mean it should get an EEZ. Nobody lives there. Nobody wants to live there. Nobody wants to try and make it self-sufficient largely because its probably not possible. All imaginings are the subject are for land grabbing purposes only and its extremely transparent. The International treaties were not made for purposes of land grabs to obtain exclusive rights to resources. All the hocus pokus is simply for the purpose of greed.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

: @ wipeout

There's no particularly strong logic to the US control of territories strung out over the Pacific thousands of miles from the American continent - Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, Samoa, the Mariana Islands

FYI Saipan and the other islands in the Northern Marianas are an independent commonwealth, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana islands (CNMI), they have a covenant with the United States but that their own immigration laws.

As far as drilling in 18000 feet of water, I believe this guy knows more about geology than offshore oil and gas production. 18000 feet is deep even for oil wells, pumping mud to the surface would be difficult at best. Oil and gas are under pressure and are lighter (lower specific gravity) than water, mud is HEAVY and the volume of usable product to mud would be very small (thats why they are call rare earth), after separation, the dross mud would have to be pumped back down the hole. When you drill into an oil field, you are tapping a pool, when you are drilling into mud you just drill a bore hole.

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Opinionhated: FYI, Minamitorishima is officially a Japanese island. Although there are no civilians currently living there, there are workers for the Japan Meteorological Agency who work and live there. In addition, according to an article in the Japan TImes: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120630a2.html

(and further reported in many other world newspapers like the "China Post", "The Australian", and Yahoo News)

The group, headed by University of Tokyo professor Yasuhiro Kato, an expert in earth resources, said Thursday that an estimated 6.8 million tons of rare earth metals, including dysprosium, could exist in the mud in the deposit, which is within Japan's exclusive economic zone.

Since the rare-earth metals find is located within Japan's EEZ, Japan has exclusive rights over what they dig up under the seabed of Minamitorishima. In fact, the only country that may have any remote claim to it would be the last owner of the island which is the U.S., but that would have to be before 1968 (which was the year it was handed over to Japan). However, since the island and the surrounding body of water has been confirmed and recognized as within Japan's EEZ, then Japan has a valid claim to the rare-earth find.

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but that would have to be before 1968 (which was the year it was handed over to Japan). However, since the island and the surrounding body of water has been confirmed and recognized as within Japan's EEZ, then Japan has a valid claim to the rare-earth find.

Actually that would only be the time from the end of WWII until 1968, prior to that it was Japanese territory. And I agree it's within Japan's EEZ. There are always going to be those that will disagree, but since international law and common sense say otherwise, it's a nice find for Japan.

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. That does not mean it should get an EEZ. Nobody lives there. Nobody wants to live there. Nobody wants to try and make it self-sufficient largely because its probably not possible. All imaginings are the subject are for land grabbing purposes only and its extremely transparent. The International treaties were not made for purposes of land grabs to obtain exclusive rights to resources. All the hocus pokus is simply for the purpose of greed.

First off, there are NO international claims against Japan for the rights to the island. Everyone, except you it seems, understands that FACT.

It really sounds like you are jealous that Japan "found" something that it needs.

Geez I didnt know you were physic as well to know whether or not someone wants to live there or not, which for a fact doesnt matter, AND btw since you wrote this, proves that it is an island and part of Japan as well.

Your argument against it is based purely upon "feeling's" and nothing else.

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First off, there are NO international claims against Japan for the rights to the island. Everyone, except you it seems, understands that FACT.

Where did I state or imply there were claims against Japan for the rights to island????? The island clearly belongs to Japan. (And I clearly admitted I made a mistake when I thought it was not an island earlier) The question is if the island can be considered a valid basis for an EEZ. I would say no. And my no is based on the rules and nothing else. I hope Japan prospers well for this find. I live here. It may well benefit me. But my feelings have nothing to do with it. In fact, its easier to make the case its your feelings clouding your judgment. It seems you just side with Japan and don't care about the rules.

Now, so that I can avoid repeating myself, try reading this message at least 3 more times please.

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Although there are no civilians currently living there, there are workers for the Japan Meteorological Agency who work and live there.

They ARE civilians but they DON'T live there in the sense that it is their permanent home. You are desperately trying to stick square pegs into round holes and its not working.

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The question is if the island can be considered a valid basis for an EEZ. I would say no. And my no is based on the rules and nothing else.

Opinionhated: You should reread the "law of the sea" that any country owning that piece of land has exclusive rights over any exploration and resources within that territory. That region stretches 200 nautical miles from the coast of that region, which in this case, Japan has a valid claim. It is clearly following the rules; at least the one that is recognized throughout the world and not by uninformed JT posters. You have to remember that Minamitorishima and its EEZ is clearly owned by Japan and by the letter of the law, Japan has rights to do any exploration and mining of resources within that island's EEZ. It is totally different than the disputable waters of say "the Senkaku (Japanese) / Diaoyu (Chinese) islands. Comparing this with other disputes Japan has with its neighbors is like comparing apples and oranges. You're desperately trying to stick square pegs into round holes and it's not working.

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@Dog

I don't know which part of "If it's within 200 nautical miles from any part of Japan, then it belongs to Japan." you didn't understand but that's the truth.

You seem to dislike Japan quite a lot, so why live here ? You should get out ASAP, don't worry, we will be okay without , I promise

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You should reread the "law of the sea" that any country owning that piece of land has exclusive rights over any exploration and resources within that territory.

You are correct. I reread it and realized that it all hinges on whether the land in question is an island or a rock. If an island, it gets an EEZ. If a rock, no. This is an island, therefore, it gets an EEZ. It is an island because its "a naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is above water at high tide".

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og's posts are interesting and different. I wonder if it is because they express Dog's originality, or whether they express the prevailing opinion in the press in another country, such as China.

In any event I think Dog makes a good point that some people seem to have missed - point 2 below.

Japan is not simply claiming that these islands are Japanese but 1) That Minamitorishima is an inhabitable island capable of sustaining life and economic activity rather than a rock and hence they has a 200 mile EEZ. 2) That Minamitorishima is part of Japan which means that Japan can claim not only the sea surrounding the island (accepting 1) but also the area between Japan and the island.

The first claim seems arguable. Japanese and Americans have lived there in the past. The second claim however seems far more tenuous. How is it decided, whether an island is part of another? Minamitorishima is beyond the Japan trench.

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Dog does seem to be saying point (2) in my post above. See for instance Dog's

America doesn't claim all the Pacific ocean between San Fransisco and Honalulu as part of its exclusive economic zone. Again there's a big difference to what Japan is doing.

But Japan does not seem to be claiming the area between Japan and Minamitorishima, which is the isolated circle bottom right in the (claimed) Japan EEZ map below http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Japan_Exclusive_Economic_Zones.png

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