Chinese Military Vessel Temporarily Enters Waters Around Yakushima

Courtesy of the Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff
The Chinese survey ship that entered Japanese territorial waters around Yakushima Island

The Defense Ministry announced Sunday that a Chinese military’s Shupang-class survey ship entered Japanese territorial waters around Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture and sailed for about 1 hour and 40 minutes.

The government has conveyed its concern to China through diplomatic channels.

According to the ministry, the vessel encroached into Japanese territorial waters off the southwest coast of Yakushima at around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and left the waters northeast of Kuchinoshima in the prefecture at around 4:10 a.m., traveling westward.

Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol aircraft and a vessel were put on alert.

This is the first time a Shupang-class survey ship has intruded into territorial waters in this area this year, but it has been confirmed once in November 2021 and five times last year.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea recognizes the rights of vessels, including warships, to “innocent passage” through the territorial waters of other countries without acting in a manner detrimental to the security of the coastal state. However, it does not permit surveying activities in territorial waters.

The ministry said it is analyzing the purpose of the survey vessel’s voyage.