Photo/Illutration Uninhabited Yanahajima island in Okinawa Prefecture (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

NAHA--A Chinese-affiliated company, not Beijing, bought about half of the uninhabited isle of Yanahajima, located north of Okinawa Prefecture’s main island, local officials told The Asahi Shimbun.

The Tokyo-based company said on its website that it is “working on a resort development plan.”

But it has not provided an explanation to residents in Izena village, which has jurisdiction over the island.

The transaction for about half of the 740,000-square-meter island was conducted in February 2021 between private companies.

The village, located on Izena island, owns about 26 percent of Yanahajima island, and this part was not included in the deal, village officials said.

Confusion was sparked after a Chinese woman in late January posted a clip of her visit to Yanahajima island on the video-sharing app Douyin, the Chinese domestic version of TikTok.

The video had 399,000 “likes” as of Feb. 15.

In another video, the woman said, “I bought an island,” while showing a document certifying the registration of the land.

According to Chinese media reports, a company run by her family bought Yanahajima island, saying, “We are not excluding commercial use of the land.”

The woman’s videos drew attention and concerns in Japan.

Izena village officials said they had received several dozen phone calls and emails by Feb. 15 from people who misunderstood the facts of the sale.

One person asked, “Why did you sell the land to China?”

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference on Feb. 13 that Yanahajima island is not subject to the law that regulates the use of important real estate for national security.

“The government will carefully monitor the situation,” he said.

(This article was written by Taro Ono, staff writer, and Ryo Inoue, correspondent in Shanghai.)