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Japanese ante up ¥300+ Million to buy Senkakus

Date Posted: 2012-05-16

What began as an idea by Tokyo’s controversial governor to buy the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture to prevent the Chinese from gaining a further foothold in the disputed islands has turned into a populist project that’s garnered massive public support.

The notion of purchasing the disputed Senkaku Islands –uninhabited but claimed by China and Taiwan, as well as Japan—has gone from a brainstorm of Tokyo Governor Shintario Ishihara, to a plan embraced by more than 23,000 Japanese citizens and organizations. Tokyo’s Vice Governor, Naoki Inose, provided reporters at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan an update, telling journalists 23,402 people and groups have contributed ¥314 million to the fund to buy three of the five islands owned by a Saitama Prefecture businessman.

The fourth island is owned by another member of the same family, while the fifth belongs already to the Japanese central government. The government already leases the four privately owned islands, and has rules in effect prohibiting anyone from venturing onto them without permission. Ishihara wants to buy the lands by next spring, when the current government contract expires.

Donations are going to a Tokyo Metropolitan Bank account set up at Mizuho Bank for people to send money. The vice governor says there’s no timeline set for accepting public donations and closing the account.

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