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Ishigaki mayor wants more patrols around area islands

Date Posted: 2011-06-16

The mayor if Ishigaki City in Okinawa’s southernmost part of the prefecture, is asking the Japan Coast Guard to beef up its patrols in waters around the East China Sea islands.

Yoshitaka Nakayama has been asking for the increased support from Hisayasu Suzuki, Commandant of the Coast guard, since a collision incident between a Chinese fishing trawler and Japan Coast Guard vessels near the Senkaku islands last year. The islands, called Diayo by the Chinese, who also claim sovereignty over the islands, have the mayor worried.

His concern is that Chinese fishing boats entering the disputed waters in large numbers could disrupt operations by Okinawa fisherman, while putting their lives at risk. He has asked the Coast Guard to bring larger patrol ships with enhanced capabilities to the region, while increasing the number of JCC staff in the Yaeyama Islands group.

Coast Guard officials say no Chinese fishing boats have been spotted operating in waters near the Senkaku Islands thus far this year.

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