Japan Conducts Military Exercises to Prevent Chinese Invasion of Disputed Islands, Reports Say

© AP Photo / Emily WangFILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, file photo, a Japanese Coast Guard boat and vessel sail alongside Japanese activists' fishing boat, not in photo, warning the activists away from a group of disputed islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China. Japan on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, said its military has raised caution levels around the Senkaku islands that it controls but are also claimed by Beijing after six Chinese warships passed near the area and a reconnaissance helicopter flew toward it
FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013, file photo, a Japanese Coast Guard boat and vessel sail alongside Japanese activists' fishing boat, not in photo, warning the activists away from a group of disputed islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China. Japan on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, said its military has raised caution levels around the Senkaku islands that it controls but are also claimed by Beijing after six Chinese warships passed near the area and a reconnaissance helicopter flew toward it - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.12.2021
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In recent years, Tokyo voiced concern regarding Beijing's activities in the region, especially with regard to the disputed Senkaku Islands, known in China as the Diaoyudao Islands.
In November of this year, the Japanese military conducted exercises in the event of a military seizure of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are under the control of Japan.
The exercises, involving border guards and police units, were carried out on an uninhabited island off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture, which resembles Senkaku islands in its relief and other features, according to Kyodo News.
According to reports, Japan fears that these territories could be occupied by the Chinese maritime police, acting under the guise of civilian fishermen.
During the exercise, which included landing from helicopters and boats and involved about 400 personnel, actions were taken to oust foreign forces from Senkaku so that the conflict did not have time to escalate into a full-scale armed clash.
Both Japan and China have extended their territorial claims over the Senkaku Islands.
Japan insists its sovereignty over the islands dates back to 1895, while China points to 1783 and 1785 Japanese maps designating the islands as Chinese territory.

After World War II, the Senkaku Islands fell under the control of the United States and were later passed on to Japan, in 1972. Japan believes that China's sovereignty claims over the islands follow the discovery of valuable minerals in their shelf water in the 1970s. The territorial dispute escalated in 2012, when the Japanese government purchased three of the five islands from a private owner.
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