By Zhao Wei, Sina English
Japan plans to deploy new patrol vessels to bolster maritime security around the disputed islands in the wake of the recent landing of Chinese activists on the Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
Japanese Land Ministry has decided to seek a budgetary provision of about $130 million in the 2013-14 fiscal to strengthen the country's Coast Guard with a fleet of four new 1,000-ton class patrol vessels and three midsize helicopters, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported on Thursday.
The report also said that most of the patrol boats and aircraft, which were deployed in the mid-1970s, were too old to meet the requirement of garrison in their speed and other aspects of performance, and thus need to be replaced. Moreover, to strengthen the garrison of the Diaoyu Islands and the surrounding area, the Japan coast guard decided to set up Naha Maritime Security Department in Naha, capital of the Okinawa Prefecture.
Meanwhile, some Japanese right-wing politicians took the opportunity to make more trouble, trying to link Diaoyu Islands issue with party and government elections.
According to Japan's Sankei Shimbun, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said on Thursday that the Japanese government’s plan of “purchasing” and “nationalizing” the Diaoyu Islands is an important issue that concerns the next round of election. It was reported that the Liberal Democratic Party Secretary General Nobuteru Ishihara, the son of Shintaro Ishihara, who is widely known as an islands’ craze, is poised to run in the party's presidential election.
Shintaro Ishihara also encouraged the Liberal Democratic Party, which he believed to be the No.1 party in Japan in the next election, to build sheltered facilities on the Diaoyu Islands. The veteran right-wing politician claimed to donate the fund of 1.46 billion yen raised for the purchase of the Diaoyu Islands to construct sheltered facilities for fishing boats as well as wireless base station on the Diaoyu Islands.
In contrast, the Japanese government, who has become increasingly active in the “purchasing” plan of the Diaoyu Islands, remains cautious on talking about the issue. According to the Associated Press, Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada on Thursday said the dispute over the islands with China has been fanned by activists, but it will not hurt official relations between the countries. He added that the two governments are reacting "calmly" to rising emotions.
Talking about how China dealt with the case in which the two Chinese were involved in ripping the Japanese flag from its Ambassador’s car in Beijing, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba said the Japanese side “solemnly accept” the decision made by China. He declined to comment on the severity of the "punishment", and "strongly expect the detention will prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.”
Japan's Asahi Shimbun published an editorial on Thursday, saying that Tokyo governor Ishihara’s Diaoyu Islands “buying” plan is not justified within reason. The issues of territory and maritime garrison are always been the problems between countries. Politicians should have a sense of responsibility, but it is difficult to say about Ishihara’s actions.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei responded to the farce of “buying” Diaoyu Island on Thursday that the current relation between the two countries was seriously affected by the incident. Japan should stop all the actions that undermine China's territorial sovereignty.