Beijing: A Chinese resident Wednesday claimed he has a Japanese map published in 1935, where Japan does not claim the disputed Diaoyu Islands.
Yang Xiufeng from Hebei province said the map was published in 1935 and purchased in May 1939 in Fukuona, Japan, according to Xinhua.
He said the map was bought by a family friend who later gave it to his family.
The man said the Diaoyu Islands are not labelled on the map. Although the map has sustained some damage, the content was still readable, with characters stating "newest Japanese map" and "latest travelling map" inscribed on its pages.
Yang said the map indicates that Japan did not claim the Diaoyu Islands 77 years ago.
Zhao Jingcun, a 92-year-old historian from Hebei`s Tangshan Normal College, said he has no doubt that the map is of Japanese origin, and that he can also confirm the islands were not included as part of Japan`s territory on the map.
The disputed islands in the East China Sea, also claimed by Taiwan, lie on a vital shipping route and are surrounded by large hydrocarbon deposits beneath them.
Japan says it has controlled the islands since 1895 until its surrender at the end of World War II.
The islands were controlled by the US from 1945 to 1972 and subsequently returned to Japan`s control. China claims the islands` discovery and control since the 14th century.
Tokyo says its rivals only became vocal over the issue in the 1970s upon the discovery of valuable minerals.