Tokyo makes bid to buy disputed islands

Japan's Prime Minister says his government is negotiating to buy islands in the East China Sea that are at the centre of a territorial dispute with China, a move that could elevate tensions between the Asian powerhouses.

Yoshihiko Noda told reporters he was considering nationalising parts of the islands to strengthen Japan's control over them amid China's increasing territorial claims in the region.

Surrounded by rich fishing grounds, the uninhabited islands, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, are claimed by China, Japan and Taiwan.