By Yu Runze,Sina English
Japan’s government is making a two-billion bid for the Diaoyu Islands as it forges ahead with a plan to bring them under state control around next month, sources familiar with the matter said Sunday.
The government is engaged in serious behind-the-scenes talks with the Kurihama family, which “owns” four of the five isles at the center of Japan's diplomatic strife with China.
Although members of the Kurihara family earlier said they would only accept bids from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the family has recently taken a more flexible stance on accommodating the government's desire to buy them, the sources said.
Hawkish Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara got the whole idea rolling in April by proposing to buy the islets of Uotsuri, Kitakojima and Minamikojima to clarify “Japan's ownership” of the disputed islands. This eventually goaded the national government into making a bid.