As the Japanese and Chinese governments both show signs of working to repair relations, the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands remains a delicate issue as Japan marked the fifth year since its nationalization of the islets in Okinawa Prefecture.
"There is no doubt both historically and under international law that the Senkaku Islands are a part of Japan's territory," said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a press conference held on the fifth anniversary of the nationalization of the islands on Sept. 11. Of the Chinese government ships that repeatedly sail into Japanese waters around the islands in protest, Suga said, "The repeated incursion into our territorial waters is truly regrettable. We would like to handle the situation firmly and calmly."
After Japan nationalized the Senkakus, incursions into the waters around the Senkaku Islands by China Coast Guard ships became regular, and in November 2013, the Chinese government designated an air defense identification zone as guidelines for scrambling fighter jets in the East China Sea that included the airspace above the islands. Since then, Chinese government ships -- remodeled naval vessels -- also began appearing in the waters nearby, and in June 2016, the Chinese military sailed a naval ship into the contiguous zone near the Senkaku Islands for the first time.
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