Japan may send Self-Defense Forces to the Diaoyu Islands if a neighboring nation engages in illegal acts within territorial waters around the islets, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said Thursday.
"The government will respond in a resolute manner, including use of the SDF, if an unlawful act involving any neighbor state takes place in Japanese territory or waters, including the Senkaku Islands (Chinese Diaoyu Islands)," Noda told a House of Representatives plenary meeting.
Japan will patrol the islands and waters around them by utilizing all relevant government agencies, he said.
Fujimura waters down remark
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura on Friday tried to play down Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's remark that Japan may send Self-Defense Force personnel to the disputed islands in an effort to cope with illegal activities by neighboring countries.
At a press conference, Fujimura said, "In my understanding, the prime minister only referred to a theoretical possibility," brushing off views that Noda's comment was intended as a warning to China, which has been expanding its maritime activities.