Reports this morning including this one in the Yomiuri Shinbun about the Japanese government reaching a deal to buy Senkaku islands from the current owner, who lives in Saitama.
The agreement between the Saitama man and the government is reportedly worth 2.05 billion yen and will include three of the chain’s five main islands — Uotsuri-jima, Kitako-jima and Minamiko-jima islands.
The islands fall under the administration of Okinawa, but are part of an ongoing territorial dispute with China.
In a desperate attempt to protect the islands, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara and Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had entered a heated battle to buy the Senkaku Islands, which are located in the East China Sea between Okinawa and Taiwan, from the current landowner, who runs a real estate business and is now in his 70s.
The efforts to secure ownership of the islands has been stepped up in recent weeks following the landing on the island in August by a group of Pro-China activists from Hong Kong. The 14 activists were detained and later released, though not before a spate of anti-Japanese street protests broke out in China with regards to the islands, which are also claimed by Taiwan.
A group of Japanese nationalists has subsequently made an illegal landing on the island chain.
Tokyo Gov. Ishihara has met the landowner on a number of occasions over the past 9 months and has openly expressed his confidence that the islands will be sold to the metropolitan government, even though the landowner has turned down an application by Tokyo to land on the islands in late August.
The metro government has since conducted aerial surveys of the islands, a move that was criticized by China.
With reference to Ishihara’s attempts to buy the islands, the state-run Xinhua news agency said: “The Japanese government should not let a right-winger take hold of the reins.”