Tokyo city officials planning to buy tiny islands at the center of a longtime territorial dispute with China surveyed the area Sunday on a visit meant to send a message of ownership.
The boat, carrying 25 experts and officials as well as journalists from news organizations including The Associated Press, circled the five uninhabited islands in the East China Sea which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.
China responded quickly to the survey, saying any unilateral action by Japan on the islands is "illegal" and "invalid."
Tokyo city officials say the survey is crucial and includes measuring the water depth to build a dock at the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Japan's central government did not grant permission to land on the islands.
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, a strong nationalist, has raised 1.45 billion yen ($19 million) in private donations over the last several months to buy the islands from the Japanese family that owns them. Supporters think having the government own the islands will strengthen Japan's control over them and send a tougher message to China.
A collection of materials related to a 17th century mission sent by a Japanese feudal lord to Europe and the world's oldest autographic diary left 10 centuries ago by a Japanese regent have been selected for the UNESCO Memory of the World registry, the Japanese education ministry said Wednesday. (Global Post )
Almost 1,500 people were transported to hospitals by ambulance due to heatstroke last week, up sharply from 942 in the preceding week, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Tuesday. (Japan Times )
Among about 200,000 traffic signals nationwide, 16 percent are being used beyond the end of the expected lifetime of their electrical systems and some have even toppled over due to age, according to the National Police Agency. (Yomiuri )
In May, Akira Ikoma, the editor of a guide to men's entertainment called Ore no Tabi (My Journey), said that "Abenomics" had caused a spike in prices at high-end soapland bathhouses in Tokyo. However, the same editor tells Shukan Post (June 28) that the initiative is not impacting the low-end market in the same way. (Tokyo Reporter )
Tokyo District Court decided on Monday to open planned examinations of three witnesses who are former senior members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult and now death-row inmates, during an upcoming trial of another former senior Aum member. (Jiji Press )