Fresh protests in Japan-China island row

Protests held against Beijing's claim to South China Sea islands, as pro-China demonstrations planned in Taiwan.

    Hundreds have gathered in the Japanese capital to protest China's claims over a string of islands in the South China Sea.

    According to organisers, over a thousand people attended Saturday's march in protest against Chinese claims over the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

    "There is absolutely no doubt that the islands belong to Japan as it has been historically proven. The Chinese claims over the islands are recent and this is plain stupidity," claimed Tokyo resident, Masanori Ono.

    Saturday's demonstrations came ahead of planned marches in support of China's claims scheduled for Sunday in Taiwan.

    The tiny, uninhabited archipelago, which Japan purchased privately, but China says it is the rightful owner of, has been a lightning rod for anti-Japan sentiment in China.

    The islands, located in close proximity to important shipping lanes, are also near rich fishing grounds.

    The seven square kilometre islands are thought to contain oil deposits.

    Chinese protesters had, during earlier protests, gathered for days outside Japan's embassy and consulates, while mobs burned and smashed Japanese cars, factories, and businesses.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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