6. The environment

Records from the survey conducted by Shimane Prefecture in 1906 discuss the environment in terms of prospects for human habitation on Takeshima, touching on necessities such as drinking water.

Potable water
There is no potable water on the islands, but it was noted that there is a pool of water on the Western Islet (i.e. Ojima). However, water from this pool is too salty and is thus not suitable for drinking as it is a mix of rainwater and sea water. There are places where rainwater thought to have filtered through the soil of the slopes of the Eastern Islet (i.e. Mejima) was discovered. This water was visibly dripping through the soil, but this water was also determined to be unsuitable for drinking water as it contained low levels of sodium and possessed a light-yellow hue. A water quality test was conducted – results included below. Reports indicate that all potable water for fishermen voyaging to Takeshima was transported from the Oki Islands. (Ref.1)

ItemResult (%)
Organic Material33.000+ (Abundant)
Nitrous acidUndetected
Sulfuric acidModerately present
AmmoniaTraces detected
Magnesium oxideSmall traces detected
Nitric acidUndetected

The aforementioned report also noted that two huts were erected by the Takeshima Hunting and Fishing Limited Partnership Company on a narrow gravel beach on the shore of the Eastern Islet. The huts were used by fishermen as temporary shelter during the summer months. The report noted that all fishing boats were pulled onto the gravel but that despite strong winds and rough waves often destroying or washing away the boats and the risk of rockfalls, there was no other location at which that these huts could be erected. The report concluded that the islets lacked the necessities required for habitation and proved to be a harsh living environment, and thus there was no prior human habitation on the islands. It was only in the prior few years that the islets had been used for short-term stays when sea lion hunters and fishermen who collected abalone using submersible equipment stopped by while they were voyaging to somewhere else. (Ref. 1)

Ref. 1: H. Okuhara, Takeshima Oyobi Utsuryoto (Takeshima and Utsuryo), 1907

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