Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015Wednesday, Apr 22, 2015

Tokyo governor wants to build structures on disputed islands

Published on Oct 4, 2012 11:59 AM
Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara organises his documents after delivering a policy speech about the territorial dispute over the uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, under flags of Japan and Tokyo at Tokyo metropolitan assembly in Tokyo on Sept 19, 2012. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, a fiery nationalist whose failed bid to buy a group of disputed islands ignited a crisis with China, is pushing ahead with a plan to build structures there to hammer home Japan's claim, officials involved told Reuters.

Although such a move is not imminent, it would be certain to strain Japan's already shaky relations with China and could prompt a rebuke from the Obama administration, which has urged both sides to ease tensions by setting aside the dispute.

Mr Ishihara's gambit appears aimed at forcing a new showdown in the island dispute with China. It is based on the view that Japan's main opposition - the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) - is likely to take power in an election in the coming months and that it would be receptive to his hard-line policies, two officials close to Mr Ishihara said.

The uninhabited slands are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!