Chinese survey ship enters Japan’s territorial waters near Kagoshima Pref.

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Yakushima island, top, and Kuchinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture

A Chinese Navy ship intruded into Japanese territorial waters near islands in Kagoshima Prefecture on Thursday morning, the Defense Ministry announced the same day.

The survey vessel entered the territorial waters south of Yakushima island at about 7:20 a.m. and left the territorial waters west of Kuchinoerabu Island at about 10:50 a.m., sailing toward the East China Sea, according to the ministry. This is the seventh intrusion into Japanese waters by Chinese Navy ships since July.

The Japanese government has conveyed its concerns over the incident to Beijing through diplomatic channels, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at Thursday’s press conference.

“We will continue to take all possible measures in our warning and surveillance operations,” he added.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that ships of all countries have “the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea,” as long as it is “not prejudicial to the peace, good order or security” of the coastal state.

However, the convention also states that the carrying out of research or survey activities do not fit the definition of innocent passage.

Thursday’s incident is the fourth intrusion by a Chinese survey vessel into Japanese territorial waters in this area. Some within the Japanese government believe that the survey was conducted to investigate a navigation route for submarines.