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Japan to name islands to bolster territory claim
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Jan 16, 2012

Japan said Monday it would give names to 39 uninhabited islands, including some near those at the centre of a dispute with China, in a bid to bolster its territorial claim to the region.

The Japanese government has been naming remote islets as it tries to "verify" the extent of the nation's exclusive economic zone, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told a news conference.

"We aim to name the remaining 39 by the end of March... which include ones near the Senkaku," Fujimura said.

Japan and China have repeatedly clashed over who owns the uninhabited, but strategically coveted, islands known as Diaoyu in Chinese, which lie between Japan and Taiwan in the East China Sea.

Beijing and Tokyo came to diplomatic blows in 2010 when a Chinese trawler collided with Japanese coastguards, sparking the captain's arrest and detention.

Beijing has also disputed Tokyo's claim to Okinotorishima, which lies 1,700 kilometres (1,000 miles) south of Tokyo, saying the wave-swept atoll cannot be regarded as an island under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

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