Local police in Japan Monday did not press charges on 10 activists after interrogating them about their landing on the Diaoyu Islands Sunday. While the top government spokesperson stressed the importance of maintaining ties with China, analysts said Tokyo should restrain its nationals with a view to "overall relations."
After interrogating the Japanese activists who swam ashore, police believed they are not likely to be charged with the minor offence of landing on the island without permission, the Kyodo News agency reported.
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Monday during a press conference that Japanese authorities were handling the case "in accordance with domestic laws," AFP reported.
In January, four members of a local assembly in Okinawa were also questioned after landing without permission, but were not charged.
Fujimura revealed that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government on Friday filed an application to visit the islands, which was denied as information such as the specific time and participants was not provided. But he did not say if the central government supports this plan.
Zhou Yongsheng, a professor of Japanese studies at the China Foreign Affairs University, said Japan would not stop stirring up provocations before achieving its goal of purchasing the Diaoyu Islands from a so-called private owner.
The Tokyo government has raised about 1.43 billion yen ($18 million) for its purchase scheme as of August 17, according to Kyodo News.
With Sino-Japanese tensions hitting a new high, Fujimura on Monday expressed Japan's willingness to maintain a good relationship with China.
Japanese Senior Vice Foreign Minister Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi revealed Sunday that he would come to Beijing in the next few days to negotiate with the Chinese side on how to prevent a landing on the islands from reoccurring, ribenxinwen.com reported.
The top government spokesperson's remarks could be seen as a positive sign, which echoed the Chinese government's repeated stance which calls for valuing overall bilateral ties, said Geng Xin, deputy director of the Tokyo-based Japan-China Communication Institute.
"But Japan should act to show its sincerity and stop any destructive actions such as nationalizing the Diaoyu Islands," Geng told the Global Times.
Fujimura said that Japan cannot accept China's claim of sovereignty over the islands.
The Japanese government also rejected a complaint by the Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua, saying the Japanese rightists' landing on the islands came after the Chinese activists' move. He also asked the Chinese government to prevent Chinese people from setting foot on the islands.
Zhou told the Global Times that it is Japan that has continued to create frictions between the two sides, yet it now seeks to put the blame on China in front of the international community.
Geng said Japanese nationalists, including some politicians, have repeatedly landed on the disputed islands in recent years, so the government should be responsible for such provocative acts and restrain its nationals with a view to "overall relations."
Meanwhile, Japan's Nikkei Weekly revealed that the Japanese government plans to use unmanned scout planes to conduct missions to monitor the Chinese navy in the area.
Peng Guangqian, a specialist in military strategy at the PLA Academy of Military Science, said during a forum held by the Global Times on Sunday that backed by greater military power, China can demonstrate its presence on the Diaoyu Islands through non-military actions such as scientific expeditions and environmental protection campaigns.
The Japanese government has decided to replace its ambassadors to China, the US and South Korea to "solve its disordered diplomatic relations resulting from territorial disputes," said Kyodo News Monday.
Separately, the remaining seven Chinese activists detained by Japan are due to arrive in Hong Kong Tuesday morning, according to Xinhua.