Tokyo buys disputed islands

Tokyo agreed to buy a group of islands disputed with China from their private owners yesterday, prompting an angry rebuke from China's President, Hu Jintao, who warned against such an "illegal" move.

Osamu Fujimura, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, said Japan wanted to nationalise the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea as soon as possible to control them in a peaceful and stable manner. Reports have said the price could be ¥2.05bn (£16m).

The Chinese foreign ministry said it was "a serious infringement of China's sovereignty".