June 17, 2020 / 8:30 AM / 17 days ago

Japan to keep close watch over disputed islands: Suga

FILE PHOTO: Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ruairidh Villar

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will take all possible measures to ensure surveillance of the areas around disputed islands in the East China Sea, the top government spokesman said on Wednesday.

Chinese government ships have been seen near the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, for 65 days in a row, the longest period since September 2012 when the Japanese government bought some of the tiny islands from private Japanese owners, Kyodo news agency reported.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that Japan had protested to China over the issue and would respond firmly and calmly.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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