The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday reasserted national sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) and urged Japan to restrain itself after media reports that Okinawa’s Ishigaki City Council proposed to change the islands’ administrative name.
The group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, are claimed by Taiwan, China and Japan.
The Ishigaki City Council, which has jurisdiction over the islands, has proposed a bill to change the islands’ administrative name from “Tonojo” to “Tonojo Senkaku,” the Japanese-language Okinawa Times reported yesterday.
The bill aims to streamline administrative procedures, the newspaper quoted Ishigaki Mayor Yoshitaka Nakayama as saying, adding that the proposal is expected to be passed on Tuesday and take effect from Oct. 1.
In a statement, the ministry reasserted the nation’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, saying that Taiwan’s sovereignty over the islands would not be altered by another country renaming them.
The ministry said that it has sought more details through diplomatic channels in Taipei and Tokyo, while expressing concern that the unilateral move would harm regional stability and calling on Japan to approach the matter cautiously.
Taiwan maintains that disputes should be resolved through peaceful means, and that unilateral actions that could provoke tension should be avoided, it said.
The ministry called on Japan to maintain a peaceful and rational attitude, and to exercise self-restraint.
The government would monitor the situation on the Diaoyutai Islands and in nearby waters, taking action to defend national sovereignty and fishers’ rights if needed, the ministry added.
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