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Japanese men ignore rules and land on Senkaku island

Date Posted: 2012-07-13

It’s strictly forbidden, but that hasn’t stopped two Japanese men from setting foot on one of the disputed Senkaku Islands.

The two men ignored warnings from the Japan Coast Guard to stay away from the islands, which are claimed by China, Taiwan and Japan. The islands’ rich fishing grounds and potentially valuable mineral reserves make the uninhabited islands attention-getters. Hitoshi Nakama, a local politician from Ishigaki, and another man went ashore on Kitakojima.

“Despite our warning,” a Japan Coast Guard official announced, “they dived into the sea from a fishing boat and reached the island.” He said the two men stayed 90 minutes before departing, adding that both police and the Coast Guard are investigating. Japan’s government controls the strategic although uninhabited islands, and prohibits visitors to keep tensions cool.

Lieu Weimin, a Beijing Foreign Ministry spokesman, lashed out at the intrusion. “The Diaoyu Islands and affiliated islands have been China’s inherent territory since ancient times,” he says, “and the illegal acts of the Japanese right-wing activists violate Chinese territorial sovereignty.” He says China’s made diplomatic protests before, and will do so again. Taiwan, meanwhile, is reasserting its claims to the islands, and urged Tokyo “to exercise self-restraint and not interfere with our sovereignty.”

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