Officials in Japan have approved legislation to rename an administrative area known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu Dao to the people of China. The Ishigaki City assembly in Okinawa prefecture has agreed to change the name of the area covering the disputed islands from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senaku from October 1.
Inserting the Japanese name “Senkaku” is seen as an attempt by Tokyo to take control of the uninhabited islands which are claimed by both China and Taiwan.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has insisted the area is China’s inherent territory and has accused Japan of breaking the law.
He said: “Japan’s adoption of the so-called name-changing bill is serious provocation against China’s territorial sovereignty, which is illegal, null and void.
“It cannot change the fact whatsoever that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China.
“We firmly oppose this move taken by Japan.”
Taiwan is considered by China as a wayward province and its foreign ministry has also condemned the move and reiterated its claim of sovereignty over the islands which are known as Diaoyutai.
In a statement the Taiwan foreign ministry said: “The fact that our country has sovereignty is indisputable.
“The one-sided claims and actions taken by any other parties cannot change this fact.”
The contested islands are located east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan and west of Okinawa Island.
It is also situated near to rich fishing grounds as well as oil and gas reserves.
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The strain in relations comes after Chinese coastguard vessels were reportedly spotted intruding into Japanese waters near the islands.
Mr Suga said last week Japan would take all measures to ensure surveillance of the areas around the disputed islands.
Tensions between China and Taiwan have also soared, on Monday Taiwan’s military reported Chinese air force jets had entered its air space.
Taiwan’s air force said a H-6 bomber and J-10 fighter jet flew into the identification zone to the southwest of the Island.