On Monday morning, two Chinese coast guard vessels entered Japan’s territorial waters near the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, an East China Sea archipelago which is the subject of longstanding dispute between Beijing and Tokyo, NHK news reports.
The ships entered the waters about 20km off the island of Minami Kojima at around 7am and approached a Japanese fishing boat, the Japanese public broadcaster reported, citing Coast Guard officials.
To “ensure the safety of the fishing boats,” NHK said, the Japan Coast Guard sent patrol ships to the area and asked the Chinese vessels to leave immediately. Later, the Japanese authorities confirmed that the vessels left the waters of the Senkaku Islands.
Monday’s incident, according to the outlet’s figures, marks the seventh time this year that Japan has spotted Chinese ships navigating off the islands, which are known in China as the Diaoyu Islands.