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Okinawa Governor Responds to Chinese Buoy Ahead of Taiwan Visit

Denny Tamaki acknowledged the buoy found northwest of one of the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa, an area where China has aggressively pursued maritime control.



Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki at a regular press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Government Office on the morning of November 10 (©Sankei by Naoki Otake)

In July, the Japan Coast Guard discovered China had placed a large oceanographic buoy in the East China Sea inside Japan's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around Okinawa. This follows a similar incident in 2018 in the same region.

Tokyo has lodged a protest with China through diplomatic channels demanding its immediate removal. 

On November 10, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki addressed the issue at his regular press conference. "I understand that the national government is investigating the situation," he acknowledged. Tamaki also declared that he "will closely monitor how the government intends to approach and deal with the matter." 

China installed the buoy in July on the Japanese side of the Japan-China median line. The buoy floats approximately 80 kilometers northwest of Uotsuri Island, one of the Senkaku Islands (Ishigaki City) in Okinawa Prefecture. 

At the press conference, Tamaki emphasized diplomacy in resolving the issue. "I would like both countries to discuss and work out a solution to the Senkaku Islands issue," he stated. 

A Chinese maritime buoy thought to be similar in appearance to the one installed around the Senkaku Islands, Okinawa Prefecture. (From the website of the Institute of Oceanography, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Tamaki to Visit Taiwan

Tamaki also revealed that he will visit Taiwan from November 23 to 25. He will meet with officials from the business community there. 

This will be the first visit to Taiwan by an Okinawa governor in four and a half years. "By holding meetings with relevant organizations, we hope to deepen mutual understanding," Tamaki stated.

 "In doing so, we will work to develop a mutually beneficial relationship between Japan and Taiwan," Tamaki proclaimed. 


(Read the report in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun


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