Hashima Island in Japan.
(photo by Sébastien Tixier)
This island is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture of Japan, about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself. It is also known as Gunkanjima or Battleship Island thanks to its skyline. Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 to begin a project to retrieve coal from the bottom of the sea. In 1916 they began building concrete apartment blocks to accomodate the workers and protect them from hurricanes.
In the 1960’s petroleum replaced coal in Japan, forcing all coal mines to close including the Hashima Island. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1976. Since then the island has been abondoned and access to it has been prohibited.
On April 22, 2009 visits to the island have been re-opened for the public.
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