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Thursday, May 10, 2012
Senkakus cash tops ¥300 million
By MIZUHO AOKI
Less than two weeks after the Tokyo Metropolitan Government set up a bank account to help it buy part of the disputed, but Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, donations have exceeded ¥300 million, Tokyo Vice Gov. Naoki Inose said Wednesday.
A total of 23,402 people and organizations had donated some ¥314 million as of Wednesday, the metropolitan government said.
"It's been just less than two weeks, but the amount has already reached ¥300 million. It's a tremendous and rapid development," Inose told reporters at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.
Inose attributed the surprising number of donations to a rising sense of patriotism among the Japanese after the March 11, 2011, disasters. "The events of March 11 made people realize that they live in a nation that is very vulnerable to natural disasters. . . . I believe it made them realize that this land is where their destiny is tied to," Inose said.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government set up the account at Mizuho Bank on April 27 for people to send money to help it purchase three of the five islets technically owned by a Saitama Prefecture businessman. Another islet is also owned by another person in the same family, while the central government owns the remaining island.
Under Okinawa jurisdiction, the uninhabited Senkaku Islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan.
The central government is currently leasing the four privately owned islets and blocks anyone from landing without permission. Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara said he wants to complete the purchase of the islands as early as next April, when the lease contract expires.