Survey of Senkaku Islands Forced to Halt Due to Approach of Chinese Vessel; JCG Ships Step in to Block Approach

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Two Japan Coast Guard vessels on guard to block a Chinese Coast Guard vessel, center, from approaching the research vessel off the coast of the Senkaku Islands on Saturday. Uotsuri Island is seen in the background.

An environmental survey of the Senkaku Islands and the surrounding waters conducted by the municipal government in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, was forced to halt due to a Chinese Coast Guard vessel approaching within 1 kilometer on Saturday.

This is the third survey by the municipality since January last year. On Saturday, the second day of the most recent survey, some media crews were present, including The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Since the central government does not allow landing on the Senkaku Islands, the survey was conducted at sea. At around 7:40 a.m., researchers from Tokai University, who were left in charge of the survey by the city government, flew a drone from about 1.8 kilometers offshore of Uotsuri Island, and videotaped for about 15 minutes.

A second recording session was scheduled to take place just after 8 a.m., but as a Chinese ship approached the research vessel, researchers deemed the situation dangerous and canceled the session. Two Japan Coast Guard patrol ships sailed between the Chinese ship and the research vessel to block further approach.

According to the JCG, at around 5:14 a.m. on Saturday, two Chinese Coast Guard vessels entered Japan’s territorial waters off Minami-Kojima in the Senkaku Islands. Chinese vessels have entered Japan’s territorial waters for three consecutive days since Thursday, the 13th time this year. They left the territorial waters around 9:50 a.m.

The Yomiuri Shimbun