Tokyo: Japan said on Wednesday that territory
disputed with China in the East China Sea is subject to the
Japan-US security treaty, stressing that the allies would
"respond together" to any attack there.
"We have not been notified by the United States that it
has changed its stance" on the handling of the islands of
Senkaku, called Diaoyu in China, said foreign ministry press
secretary Kazuo Kodama.
The uninhabited islets lie between Japan and Taiwan,
which both claim them, as does China.
"It is natural that Japan and the United States respond
together" if the islands are attacked, Kodama told reporters.
The comment came days after a US government report warned
that China`s rising defence power is changing East Asia`s
Following the report, Japan`s defence ministry said
yesterday it would keep a close eye on Beijing`s military
The long-standing territorial spat has cast a shadow over
ties between the two Asian powers, despite political and
business leaders` efforts to improve relations.
Japan`s concern over the territory was heightened when
two Chinese ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the
islets in December 2008.
It has reported a rise in incidents involving China`s
military in recent months.
In April, Tokyo protested after a Chinese naval
helicopter made a close fly-by of one of its destroyers on the
high seas off a southern Japanese island chain in Okinawa
prefecture, during exercises Japan considered provocative.
A similar incident took place near the Okinawan islands
in the same month, when 10 Chinese naval vessels, including
two submarines, were seen sailing through international waters
between Japan`s southernmost islands.