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Japan to sign Senkaku contract, purchase finalised next week

Publication Date : 08-09-2012


The Japanese government will sign a contract to purchase three of the Senkaku Islands in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, as early as Tuesday, government sources have revealed.

According to a number of sources, the official decision on the deal will be made Monday at a meeting between Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and ministers concerned with the matter.

The government has decided to effect the nationalisation of the East China Sea islets as soon as possible to minimise backlash from China, which claims ownership of the islet chain, the sources said.

Ministers present at the meeting to finalise the decision to buy the islets will include Noda, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba and Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Yuichiro Hata, they said.

The meeting is expected to authorise the purchase of the three islets--Uotsurijima, Kita-kojima and Minami-kojima--which are owned by a Saitama Prefecture resident.

After their nationalisation, the islets will be under the jurisdiction of the land and transport ministry, which oversees the Japan Coast Guard, according to the sources.

Prior to signing the contract, a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday will endorse disbursement of 2.05 billion yen for the purchase from reserves set aside under the state budget.

The government and the owner of the islets have maintained a leasing contract on the three islets that is effective until the end of this fiscal year. The nationalisation of the islets, however, will take effect at the time of signing the contract, the sources said.

The nationalisation will be in line with the policy the government has so far taken on the Senkaku Islands: maintaining control of the islet chain in a peaceful and stable manner, the sources added.


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