Japan names five disputed islets in East China Sea

Japan names five  disputed islets in East China Sea
The five islands, named after directions of the compass, are part of the group in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku in Japanese and the Diaoyu in Chinese. Five bigger islands in the group already have names. Chinese and Japanese coast guard ships have regularly confronted each other in surrounding waters.

The five were among 158 islands that were named day and their list published on a website of the Japanese maritime policy department. The other islands elsewhere in the Japanese waters are not disputed.

The government said that naming the islands is meant to raise public awareness that they belong to Japan.

However, assigning names to disputed islands does not change their status. Japan insists the islands lie within its territorial waters; China says they were stolen by Japan in 1895 and should have been returned at the end of World War II.

Taiwan, which calls them Diaoyutai, also claims the islands but has worked out an arrangement with
Japan guaranteeing its fishermen access to the area, and it rejects any notion of joining with Beijing on the matter.

China and Japan are also at odds over exploitation of East China Sea gas deposits in the area.
The disputed waters are surrounded by rich fishing grounds. Chinese coast guard and fishing boats have recently more frequently approached the area, sometimes violating Japan’s waters, especially since Japan’s previous government nationalized the main Senkaku islands in 2012.


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