MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The NHK news agency reported, citing the Japanese Coast Guard, that the Chinese patrol boats were spotted near the Uotsuri Jima Island, the largest island of the group, at around 10:00 a.m. local time (01:00 GMT) and stayed there for approximately an hour and a half.
According to the news outlet, it is the 25th incident involving Chinese ships sailing into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands since the beginning of 2017.
The head of the relevant department of the Japanese Foreign Ministry reportedly filed a protest to China's Embassy in Tokyo shortly after the incident.
Japan and China have been engaged in a territorial dispute over the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, called in Chinese the Diaoyu Islands, since the 1970s. China says that the contiguous islands have been part of its territory since ancient times. Japan argues the islands have been under its control since 1895. The islands are currently controlled by Japan. After the World War II, the United States controlled the territory and transferred it to Japan in 1972 along with the Okinawa Island.