Hashima Island, abandoned for 40 years and deemed too dangerous for exploration, is so spooky it made for the perfect lair for a James Bond villain in 2012 film Skyfall.

The 16-acre island, also known as Gunkanjima, lies about eight miles from Nagasaki in southern Japan and is today a concrete jungle of deserted buildings surrounded by a massive seawall.

Long before it made a name for itself in Hollywood as the secret hideout of Bond villain Raoul Silva, it was a place much more sinister.

After discovering its coal resources in 1887, Mitsubishi bought Hashima Island in 1890 and set to work making it habitable for an army of workers.

Japan's first large reinforced concrete building, a seven-floor miner's apartment block, was erected in 1916, followed by a school, kindergarten, hospital and community centre for miners and their families.

Inmates and immigrants were hauled over to the island from 1930 until just after the end of World War II and forced to work under the harshest of conditions at the Mitsubishi facility.

Mitsubishi closed down operations on the island in January 1974 and it was cleared of all inhabitants. Although now open for tourism, 95% of the island is strictly off limits.