Minamitori or Marcus Island, coral atoll, c.740 acres (300 hectares), W Pacific Ocean, 700 mi (1,125 km) SE of Japan; part of Tokyo prefecture, Japan. Triangular in shape and rising to 204 ft (62 m), it was the site of a Japanese meteorological station prior to World War II. It was bombed by the U.S. navy during the war, after which it was administered by the United States; it was returned to Japan in 1968, but a U.S. coast guard station remained until 1993. There is no civilian population. The seabed surrounding the island contains mud that holds significant stores of rare earth minerals.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Japanese Political Geography