NAHA, Japan (Kyodo) -- A city in the southern Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa said Thursday its mayor plans to propose changing the name of a group of islands over which it has administrative authority to officially include "Senkaku."
Ishigaki Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama is pushing for the name change of the Japanese-controlled islets in the East China Sea. The islands are currently known as "Tonoshiro, Ishigaki city," and the plan is to explicitly refer to them as "Senkaku, Ishigaki city."
The uninhabited islets, known as Senkaku in Japan and called Diaoyu by Beijing, are at the center of a territorial dispute between Japan and China.
Nakayama will submit the proposal to the city assembly for discussion during its regular session in December, and the name change is likely to be approved.
The mayor on Tuesday revealed his plan to change the islands' formal name. "I want the (plan) to be presented to the assembly for sure so that the formal address will now contain the (Chinese characters) 'Senkaku,'" he said.
The islands, located between Okinawa and Taiwan, which also claims the islands it calls Tiaoyutai, are said to be close to oil fields beneath the sea floor.
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