Four Japanese municipal politicians have decided to defy their central government, as well as China and Taiwan, by spending 2 1/2 hours on the uninhabited island of Senkaku 170 km northeast of Taiwan.
The politicians came from Ishigaki in Okinawa. They were jumping the gun on a municipal ordinance setting January 14 as the dayto remember that the Japanese Imperial Government incorporated the Senkaku islands back in 1985.
The act would be comic opera except for the existing dispute over the islands with China and Taiwan. The conservative politicians have advocated tougher measures against China, whereas Japanese Prime Minister Yushihiko Noda, who recently visited Beijing, is trying to set up a bilateral mechanism to reduce tensions over the islands.
Chinese activists immediately planned a riposte and some are already on the way to the disputed islands, which China calls Diaoyu.
The islands are considered worth fighting for because they sit astride a fishing zone and a seabed that may be rich in minerals.