It appears no one can find the Japanese island formerly known as Esanbe Hanakita Kojima.
Not even the Japanese Coast Guard, which has been out searching for the strategically significant sliver of land last sighted somewhere off the coast of Hokkaido.
Even worse, the island first named in 2014 may have shuffled below this mortal coil a fair while ago.
This was back in September when author Hiroshi Shimizu visited nearby Sarufutsu village to write a sequel to his picture book on Japan’s “hidden” islands.
Shimizu told the local fishing cooperative, which sent out a flotilla to its former location only to find it had disappeared.
Japanese officials now believe that the island that once rose about five feet above sea level, has been inexorably broken apart by the pack ice that covers the area throughout the bitter winter. The Guardian seems to confirm this.
The uncertain conclusion is that it has gradually, uncomplainingly, slipped beneath the surface.
While Esanbe Hanakita Kojima might have been too small to be of much practical use, it did have an importance well beyond its fragility.
Before its unexpected absence, the island marked the very western indent of another disputed island chain Japan calls the Northern Territories, while Russia claims the archipelago as the Kuril islands.
Photos of the week: 10/26 - 11/2
Photos of the week: 10/26 - 11/2
Students from the Yeshiva School in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, pay their respects as the funeral procession for Dr. Jerry Rabinowitz passes their school en route to Homewood Cemetery following a funeral service at the Jewish Community Center, Tuesday Oct. 30, 2018. Rabinowitz was one of people killed while worshipping at the Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Rosendo Noviega, a 38-year-old migrant from Guatemala, part of a caravan of thousands from Central America en route to the United States, holds his daughter Belinda Izabel as he walks along the highway to Juchitan from Santiago Niltepec, Mexico, October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
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ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 31: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit Redwoods Tree Walk on October 31, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
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Mourners react during a memorial service at the Sailors and Soldiers Memorial Hall of the University of Pittsburgh, a day after 11 worshippers were shot dead at a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 28, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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MANILA, PHILIPPINES - NOVEMBER 1: People gather near the graves of their relatives in a cemetery during the commemoration of All Saints' Day in Manila on November 1, 2018 in Manila, Philippines. Filipinos flock to cemeteries to celebrate All Saints and All Souls Days festivals as they to pay their respects to their dead in an annual tradition. In the Philippines, family members clean tombs and often spend the night at the cemetery by offering flowers, candles and prayers with loved ones across to commemorate their departed loved ones, which fall on November 1. (Photo by Mohd Samsul Mohd Said/Getty Images)
Relatives of passengers of Lion Air, flight JT610, that crashed into the sea cry at Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang, Belitung island, Indonesia, October 29, 2018. Antara Foto/Hadi Sutrisno via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 30: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 24 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters) Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits Coach Core Essex at Basildon Sporting Village on October 30, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Samjiyon County, in this undated photo released on October 30, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Britain's Prince Harry holding toy from young child in the crowd at the Viaduct Harbour October 30, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. . Chris Jackson/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 30: A indonesian red cross member stands in front of recovered personal items from Lion Air flight JT 610 at the Tanjung Priok port on October 30, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rescuers have recovered bodies, body parts and personal items in the wreckage, with all 189 passengers and crew feared dead. Lion Air Flight JT 610, traveling from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang crashed in the Java sea Monday morning, shortly after takeoff. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
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Explosives planted by Norwegian Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal are triggered to clear the beaches of obstacles and enemy mines, during an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance demonstration, as part of the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 2018, in Byneset near Trondheim, Norway, October 30, 2018. - Trident Juncture 2018, is a NATO-led military exercise held in Norway from 25 October to 7 November 2018. The exercise is the largest of its kind in Norway since the 1980s. Around 50,000 participants from NATO and partner countries, some 250 aircraft, 65 ships and up to 10,000 vehicles take part in the exercise. The main goal of Trident Juncture is allegedly to train the NATO Response Force and to test the alliance's defence capability. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the new iPad Pro during an Apple launch event in the Brooklyn borough of New York, U.S., October 30, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 02: Simone Biles of The United States competes on the uneaven bars during day nine of the 2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Championships at Aspire Dome on November 2, 2018 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
JAKARTA, INDONESIA - OCTOBER 31: Epi Syamsul (50), and his wife Yenny await news of their son Mohammad Rafi Andrian, a victim of Lion Air flight JT 610 as reports suggest authorities have located the aircraft's fuselage at police hospital on October 31, 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Rescuers have recovered bodies, body parts, and personal items in the wreckage, with all 189 passengers and crew feared dead. Lion Air Flight JT 610, traveling from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang crashed in the Java sea Monday morning, shortly after takeoff. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
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A South Korean marine in action during their regular drill on Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea November 1, 2018. Jeon Heon-Kyun/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 30: Meghan, Duchess of Sussex kneeling down to talk to a young girl during 'Walkabout' on October 30, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are on their official 16-day Autumn tour visiting cities in Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
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VENICE, ITALY - OCTOBER 29: A pharmacist looks at the high tide in front of his pharmacy on October 29, 2018 in Venice, Italy. Due to the exceptional level of the 'acqua alta' or 'High Tide' that reached 156 cm today, Venetian schools and hospitals were closed by the authorities, and citizens were advised against leaving their homes . (Photo by Stefano Mazzola/Awakening/Getty Images)
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Relatives gather around some of the graves illuminated by candles during All Saints Day at the cemetery in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Candles illuminated tombstones in graveyards across Europe as people communed with the souls of the dead on Thursday, observing one of the most sacred days in the Catholic calendar.(AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
HATAY, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 01 : Abdulkerim El Mutip, lost his right hand thumb and left leg after a barrel bomb attack, sits on a bed while leaning on his crutches at a life center in Reyhanli district of Turkey's southern Hatay province on November 01, 2018. Many people experience long-term disabilities such as amputations, brain injuries, spinal injuries, seeing or hearing disabilities, or mental health disabilities because of the Syrian civil war. Life center hosts 12 Syrians, including children, who fled the civil war and came to Hatay's Reyhanli. (Photo by Cem Genco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A woman passes by an oak tree displaying fall colors on the grounds of the National World War I Museum Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: Heidi Klum and Tom Kaulitz attend Heidi Klum's 19th Annual Halloween Party at Lavo on October 31, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
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China's South China Morning Post said that the island was formally named by Tokyo in 2014 as part of Japan's multipronged attempts to reinforce its legal control over hundreds of outlying islands and extend its exclusive economic zone, (EEZ) appears to have sunk without a trace.
The Japanese coastguard has been tasked with carrying out a survey of the area to see if the remnants of the island remain.
It was last formally surveyed in 1987, when records showed it was about 500 metres off Sarufutsu.
The Japanese government used the island to buffer its EEZ a similar distance out to sea where Japanese waters mingle into Russian territory.
But even if they can find the waterlogged remains of Esanbe Hanakita Kojima, it can no longer meet the very basic international legal definition of an island — land — and Japan's territorial claims appear to be about half a kilometer smaller.