The Straits Times
Published on Oct 04, 2012

Tokyo governor wants to build structures on disputed islands


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.