Good thing no one tried to go there.

Breaking out an atlas and examining Earth on paper is a good way put the size of countries into perspective and learn more about our blue planet.

And if one were to flip to page 63 of the 2013 edition of Basic Atlas, an atlas published by Japanese geography book specialist Ninomiyashoten, they would find a mysterious “island” located 100 kilometers (62.1 miles) west of Aomori Prefecture’s Tsugaru Peninsula.

▼ This island situated southwest of Kojima and Oshima islands has a secret.

This unnamed dot of land somehow found its way into Google Maps. And it would have remained so had the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (a national institute dedicated to mapping the country) not intervened, announcing that there was no such island.

The phantom island vanished from Google Maps on 2 Oct 2013, with news website The Huffington Post quickly reporting the discrepancy the following day.

Unfortunately for Ninomiyashoten, not only did they include a non-existent island in their atlas, they missed the memo and were blissfully ignorant of their mistake for the following years to come.

▼ Truly a facepalm-worthy moment.

Countless books containing the phantom island were circulated, and in December 2016, a male student from the Exploration Department of Waseda University chanced upon The Huffington Post article.

Upon contacting Ninomiyashoten for answers, a representative replied with the following explanation:

“We made use of multiple maps found in the revised edition of High-Grade Atlas published in 2009. We’ve now made amendments in our Basic Atlas, which will be reflected in the 2018 edition. There is no island at that location, just a dot that made its way into publication when we were creating the original transcript. We’ll ensure that no such mistakes will be repeated in the future.”

Although this case isn’t as drastic as the time when Japan completely vanished from the world map, what’s surprising is that the mysterious phantom island is still present in the iOS Maps app even as of 26 June 2018.

▼ Here’s how it looks like in the iOS navigation app, Maps.

Who knows? Perhaps it’s all an elaborate cover-up for an alien experimental facility or some kind of government conspiracy. But for the sake of us all, someone should just go there and dispel the cloud of uncertainty once and for all.

Source: Yahoo! Japan via Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Twitter@TAMA6SI
Insert image: Pakutaso