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DPJ, LDP lawmakers visit Senkaku Islands

Date Posted: 2012-01-27

A politician of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan and another from the opposition Liberal Democratic Party together visited the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

The islands, jointly claimed by Japan, China and Taiwan, have been the setting for incidents involving Chinese fishing and research vessels over the past 18 months, including one incident where a Chinese trawler crashed into two Japan Coast Guard patrol boats trying to make the Chinese captain stop. The lawmakers, Koichi Mukoyama of the DPJ in Hyogo Prefecture, and LDP lawmaker Yoshitaka Shindo of Saitama Prefecture, spent about six hours in the area, observing three of the islands.

Their visit comes only a couple weeks following a landing on the islands by four Japanese politicians from Ishigaki. Japan calls the islands the Senkaku Islands, while China has named them Diaoyu. Taiwan has joined China in complaining to Tokyo about the visitors, noting “We reiterate that the Diaoyu islands are part of our territory, and we oppose any remarks or actions by Japan that violate our sovereignty.

The Japanese government has leased the islands from private land owners. Entry is prohibited in an effort to preclude any political incidents.

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