Batan Islands (bätän`), island group, 76 sq mi (197 sq km), northernmost of the Philippine islands. They include the islands of Itbayat, Batan, Sabtang, and a number of islets, and comprise the province of Batanes. Basco is the provincial capital. The Batan Islands are separated from Taiwan by the Bashi Channel (50 mi/80 km wide). Coal is mined, and fishing is an important industry. In World War II, Batan Island was the site of the first Japanese landing in the Philippines (Dec. 8, 1941).