Chinese woman's 'purchase' of Japanese island causes stir

Kyodo News

Posted at Feb 11 2023 05:06 PM

A recent social media post by a Chinese woman in which she claims to have purchased an uninhabited island in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture has caused a stir online, with some expressing envy and others dubbing the move "an expansion of Chinese territory" in the comments.

The woman in her 30s told Chinese media that a company run by her relative had bought Yanaha Island, located north of the Okinawa main island in southern Japan.

According to public records, parts of the island have been owned by a Tokyo-based consulting firm that specializes in Chinese businesses since February 2021. The office of Izena village in Okinawa, which oversees the island, said the company owns about 50 percent of the total land, with its beaches mostly held by the local government.

Yanaha Island is a popular fishing and camping site, the village office added.

In late January, the woman posted a video on social media showing her first visit to the island. An Izena Island resident who took the woman and another female for a round trip to Yanaha Island by boat said they stayed there for several hours and took pictures and footage of the local scenery.

In a video posted to social media, a document is shown addressed to the consulting firm, which claims on its website to have acquired Yanaha Island.

The ownership of Yanaha Island has changed hands several times, according to public records and sources familiar with the matter.

In China, where individuals cannot own land, social media users expressed envy and praised her move, with some even calling for the purchase of the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by Beijing and called Diaoyu in the Asian country.