Japan renews claims to disputed islands
18 July 2013, 10:26
Tokyo - Japan's prime minister appealed to nationalism during a campaign stop on Wednesday near disputed islands in the East China Sea, saying China's increased activity in the area challenged Japan's security in territory that Tokyo would never compromise over.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the remarks in Ishigaki, an island about 150km southeast of the Japanese-controlled islands called Senkaku, which China also claims and calls Diaoyu.
Abe is known for his hawkish security policy and nationalistic remarks, comments that have hurt Japan's relations with Asian neighbours.
"Today, we face a continuing provocation to our country's territorial land, sea and airspace," Abe said in an address to about 50 coast guard officers during his visit to Ishigaki, where he campaigned ahead of Sunday's parliamentary elections.
Abe said incursions by Chinese ships into the area around the disputed islands made "our country's territorial security environment an extremely challenging one."
He urged the coast guard to boost their watchfulness.
Abe also took to the streets to make his campaign appeal to Ishigaki voters.
"Senkaku is undoubtedly Japan's inherent territory and clearly, there is no territorial problem here.
"We will not make any compromise, not even a step, on this matter," he said.
Abe made a similar address to soldiers stationed on Miyako island on Wednesday.
Tougher territorial defence has been part of the campaign platform for Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
on: shinzo abe | china | japan | south korea