The visit of four Japanese officials on the disputed islands in the East China Sea has prompted protests from China.
Four members of the Ishigaki Municipal Assembly in Okinawa left in a fishing boat from Ishigaki on Monday night and arrived on one of the disputed islands on Tuesday morning.
The islands are called Senkaku in Japanese, while China calls them Diaoyu.
A spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry was quick to react. “I would like to reiterate that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands, which have been an inherent part of China since ancient times,” he said.
A dozen pro-China activists also tried to sail from Hong Kong to the disputed islands but were turned away by Chinese marine police, as the vessel was not being used for its licensed purpose, fishing.
“Diaoyu island is ours. It is from our ancestors. We are protesting Japan’s attitude and actions,” said one of the activists.
A September 2010 arrest of a Chinese fishing captain by Japan caused a long-lasting diplomatic scandal between the two countries.