Japan has agreed to buy disputed East China Sea islets, claimed by both Tokyo and Beijing, from their private Japanese owners, Japanese media said on Wednesday, a move likely to fuel tensions between Asia’s two largest economies.
The uninhabited islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, have long been a source of friction. Japan and China have competing territorial claims to the islets and surrounding fishing areas and potentially rich gas deposits.
The Japanese government will buy the islets for 2.05 billion yen ($26.15 million) and the owners will sign a contract soon, the Japanese dailies Asahi and Yomiuri said.
The planned purchase of the islands, controlled by Japan and claimed by Taiwan as well, will be approved in a cabinet meeting as early as mid-September, the newspapers said.
The row is part of a broader series of territorial disputes in the South China and East China…
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