Opposition DPJ calls for dialogue on Senkakus

Japan’s main opposition party is calling on the government to promote dialogue with China on maritime affairs in order to ease tensions between the two countries.

The statement by the Democratic Party of Japan came after a fleet of eight Chinese maritime surveillance ships entered Japanese waters around the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea earlier on Tuesday. The DPJ protested against the territorial intrusion by the Chinese government ships and urged the Japanese government to be fully prepared to defend the country’s territory.

At the same time, the DPJ said that Japan and China should encourage talks in order to build a communication mechanism on maritime affairs and make the East China Sea a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

Separately speaking to reporters in Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, mayor of the western Japan city and co-leader of major opposition Nippon Ishin No Kai, the Japan Restoration Party, downplayed criticism from China and South Korea over recent visits by Japanese cabinet ministers and lawmakers to the controversial Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo.

It is understandable that Japanese politicians want to pay their respects to the country’s war dead, he said. Still, he added, Japanese politicians need to consider the country’s neighbors as Japan needs the support of other countries to resolve issues regarding North Korea.