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Japan unveils plans to nationalize about 280 disputed islands

January 09, 2014, 13:45 UTC+3 9
1 pages in this article

TOKYO, January 9 (Itar-Tass) - Japanese government is planning to nationalize and declare as its state territory about 280 adjacent islands without any certain ownership but having significance for determining the borders of the country’s territorial waters. The process is planned to be completed by June, the Japanese ocean policy office announced Thursday.

A total of about 500 islands is now pivotal for determining the mentioned borders. Last August the government started to look into the ownership issue. The probe found that that some of them were privately owned by Japanese citizens, while others were part of the country’s municipalities. However, the ownership of 280 islands remains unclear, with about 16 of them even bearing no name.

Nationalization is Tokyo’s way of asserting its right to the adjacent waters amid the escalating disputes with China concerning the two countries’ exclusive economic zones in the East China Sea. In particular, Beijing does not acknowledge Japan’s right to the Senkaku Islands alternatively known in China as the Diaoyu Islands. It regards them as Chinese lands illegally occupied lands. Japan had earlier nationalized these islands and declared them as its state property.

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