Japan to 'grow' an island in the Pacific

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London, Apr 10 (UNI) In an attempt to maintain their fishing territory, Japanese scientists will transplant up to 50,000 shards of coral to 'grow' an island in the Pacific.

Two stone outcrops around Okinotorishima, 1,000 miles south of Tokyo, will be grafted to prevent the island from sinking, a report in the Telegraph said.

Japan's maritime territory will shrink dramatically if the outcrops which sit just four inches above water at high tide, disappear. Besides, rights to oil, minerals and gas beneath the seabed could be lost.

However, the project worth 3.6 million pound is causing friction with China, which refuses to recognise the outcrops as an island and claims they cannot be used to stop Beijing's exploration of the area.

''Since 1931, Okinotorishima has been classified as an island,'' said Tomohiko Taniguchi, a Japanese foreign ministry spokesman.

The islets were discovered in 1789 by Captain William Douglas on board the frigate Iphigenia and appeared on Admiralty charts long before anyone in Japan or China was aware of their existence.

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