Saturday, July 7, 2012

Japan gov't planning to buy disputed Senkaku Islands from owner

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Japanese government is planning to buy part of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the country's southwest from a private owner in a bid to increase its control over the islands, government sources said Saturday.

While Taiwan has already reacted sharply to Japan's plan and China is expected to do likewise as both claim the islands in the East China Sea, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda simply told reporters that his government will deal with the issue "comprehensively."

The government has already started making arrangements on the issue with the owner and the Tokyo metropolitan government, the sources said. Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said in April that the local government would buy part of the islands.

State officials including Noda's special aide Akihisa Nagashima notified the metropolitan government Friday of its plan to buy Uotsuri Island, the largest among the group of islands, and Kitakojima and Minamikojima islands nearby, according to the sources and Ishihara.

Ishihara told reporters, "I responded that Tokyo will first buy them considering the owner's circumstances."

Noda said, "We're considering the issue comprehensively from the viewpoint of maintaining and controlling (the islands) in a peaceful and stable manner. We're having various kinds of contacts." Read More