Tokyo: Amidst harsh criticisms in China, Japan is mulling deporting 14 Chinese activists arrested for landing without authorisation on disputed islands.
The police had earlier shifted the activists to Okinawa in southern Japan for questioning.
The activists had sailed from Hong Kong to the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
“They may be transferred to the Immigration Bureau of Japan later and sent back to Hong Kong,” the BBC quoted a spokesman from Japan Coast Guard, as saying.
China has called for an immediate and unconditional release of the activists, the report added.
According to the report, the group of pro-China activists had set sail on Sunday.
It is the first time non-Japanese nationals have landed on the disputed islands since 2004, the report added.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Japan has lodged a diplomatic protest with China and in Hong Kong over the activists, the report said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has also ‘lodged solemn representations’ with Japan and demanded Japan to return the activists safely.
Tensions between China and Japan have been worsening in recent months over the islands in the East China Sea.
(With ANI inputs)