TOKYO – Japan has told Beijing to remove a Chinese buoy floating in waters within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), an official said on Wednesday, referring to an area located near islands claimed by both countries.
“We have been lodging protests in both Tokyo and Beijing since Japan’s coastguard in July found a buoy” in Japan’s EEZ in the East China Sea, a foreign ministry official told AFP.
The buoy was spotted in waters near a group of islands that Japan calls the Senkaku and China the Diaoyu.
“We have demanded the immediate removal of the buoy as it is against international laws” to build a structure in Japan’s EEZ without its consent, the official said, on condition of anonymity.
China had placed a buoy in Japan’s EEZ in the same area of the East China Sea in 2018, according to the official.
Adding to decades of animosity between the two countries, China-Japan ties have soured since Tokyo’s release from Aug 24 of treated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Beijing responded with a blanket ban on all seafood imports from Japan.
Food exports from Japan to China plunged 41.2 per cent in August to 14 billion yen (S$130 million), according to finance ministry data released on Wednesday.
Tokyo in August demanded that China ensure the safety of Japanese citizens as it reported a brick being thrown at its embassy in Beijing.
It has also urged tens of thousands of its citizens in China to keep a low profile and has increased security around schools and diplomatic missions.
According to Japan’s Kyodo News agency, the Japanese embassy in Beijing has received more than 400,000 nuisance calls since the water release.
Speaking to AFP, the foreign ministry official did not confirm the number.
“But our diplomatic outlets have received countless nuisance calls,” the official said. AFP