Japan: Officials survey disputed islands


Tokyo city officials planning to buy tiny islands at the centre of a longtime territorial dispute with China surveyed the area yesterday on a visit meant to send a message of ownership.

The boat, carrying 25 experts and officials, circled the five uninhabited islands in the East China Sea which are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China and Taiwan.

China responded quickly to the survey, saying any unilateral action by Japan on the islands is "illegal" and "invalid". Tokyo says the survey included measuring the water depth to build a dock at the islands.