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Nine nationalists land on disputed Senkaku island

Date Posted: 2003-08-30

Nine members of an ultra rightist organization landed on Uotsuri Island, one of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, Monday, in a bid to show that the island is Japanese territory. Uninhabited Senkaku Islands have for years been a source of dispute between Japan, China and Taiwan, all of whom claim sovereignty.

The group reportedly placed new batteries and lamps in a lighthouse they had constructed some years ago. The group left the island shortly after checking the lighthouse.

According to officials at the Maritime Safety Agency, the group had departed from Ishigaki the previous night despite of a request from MSA officials not to land on the island because of the controversy surrounding the islands.

Members of the same group had tried to reach the same island in May, but gave up their attempt at that time because of bad weather and high waves.

The islandsf land is privately owned, and the Japanese government leased three of the islands about a year ago in a bid to show the legitimacy of its claim to the territory. China and Taiwan are bitterly opposed to the move.

The claims over the islands dates back some 500 years, and involve future offshore oil development, as sovereignty could affect rights to 40,000 sq km of surrounding continental shelf.

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