Eight Chinese government ships have entered Japanese territorial waters near disputed islands, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago, the Japanese government says. A flotilla of boats carrying more than 80 Japanese nationalists had arrived in waters near the islands on Tuesday, risking further straining Tokyos already tense relations with its Asian neighbours.Japan’s coastguard confirmed the Chinese vessels had entered waters near the East China Sea island chain.The maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku chain of islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, about 8am 9am AEST, the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.State-owned Chinese ships have frequently spent time around the five disputed islands, also claimed by Taiwan, in recent months.
The Japan Coast Guard on Monday released a condensed 30-minute video of its failed attempt to prevent activists from Hong Kong from making an unauthorized landing on the Senkaku Islands on Aug. 15.
“We decided to release the video to show that the coast guard took appropriate measures against the protesters,” said Takahiro Okushima, director of the Japan Coast Guard’s Territorial Waters Guard, Security Division.
The video was edited down from about seven hours of footage that began at 11:52 a.m., when the patrol boats started transmitting footage to coast guard headquarters, and ended at 6:50 p.m., when they took control of the Hong Kong fishing boat after the cat-and-mouse chase.
Footage that could reveal Japan’s patrolling techniques, formations and distances from the Chinese boat were edited out of the video, the guard said.
Japan’s government is hoping to buy the private Senkaku Islands to bolster the country’s claim to ownership in the face of increasing Chinese counter-claims.
The central Japanese government has been leasing four of the five islands from the Kurihara family for many years. Landings are by government permission only and rarely granted, Kyodo News Agency reported.
But the government is looking pay about $25.4 million to the Kurihara family, which owns four of the five islands at the center of Japan’s diplomatic row with China, Kyodo said.
The government wishes to head off a bid by the Metropolitan Government of Tokyo’s right-of-center leader Shintaro Ishihara, who would incorporate the islands into the city administration. He began making purchase overtures to the Kurihara family in April, Kyodo said.
Japanese Air-Defense Force jets scrambled Wednesday after two Chinese naval airplanes were spotted approaching about 50 kilometers north of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, the Japanese Defense Ministry said.
The Chinese Y-8 airplanes did not enter Japanese airspace but it was the first time Chinese military planes had come so close to the disputed islands in the East China Sea, the ministry’s Joint Staff Office said.