In a direct move against China, the Japanese Defence Minister said Tokyo will defend and match Chinese opposition to the disputed islands if necessary. Speaking to CNN, Nobuo Kishi stated Tokyo is prepared to “defend [Japan’s] territory”.
The uninhabited Senkaku Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, are located 330 km (205 miles) from China are controlled by Japan, but claimed by Beijing.
Claims over the area date back centuries, but have reached a boiling point in recent years.
However, Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi claims there “is no territorial dispute”.
He told CNN: “Against Chinese action on the Senkaku Islands and other parts of the East China Sea … we have to demonstrate that the government of Japan is resolutely defending our territory with a greater number of Japanese coast guard vessels than that of China.
Recently, Japan has been preparing for a showdown with China.
Japan has been adding state-of-the-art F-35 fighter jets to their forces and converting warships to aircraft carriers, while also building new destroyers and submarines.
Japan has been deploying missiles and troops to the Yonaguni island to reinforce nearby Ishigaki, according to Mr Kishi.
“This is to demonstrate our strong will to defend our southwestern area of Japanese territory,” he said.
“We will continue to conduct bilateral training with the US and multilateral training with other partners to strengthen our posture and contribute to the peace and stability of this region.”