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Japan should fortify islets defence: Senior politician

Published on Aug 18, 2012 3:11 PM

TOKYO (AFP) - Japan should strengthen its coast guard to defend disputed islands, the ruling party policy chief said on Saturday, a day after Tokyo deported pro-Beijing activists who had sailed there.

"Coast guard officials are doing their best, and so the government and the ruling parties will discuss how to strengthen our backup to them," Mr Seiji Maehara, the policy chief of the Democratic Party of Japan told reporters.

"We should discuss not only (increasing) the number of staff and ships but also possibilities of various other supports" to the coast guards, he said. The comments came a day after the deportation of pro-China activists who sailed to a disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China and controlled by Japan.

On Wednesday some of the 14 had become the first non-Japanese to set foot on any part of the archipelago since 2004.

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