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Saturday, Sep. 8, 2012

No chats at APEC with Lee or Hu


Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is unlikely to meet bilaterally with Chinese and South Korean leaders on the sidelines of the weekend summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba said Friday.

"I think it will be better not to make (meetings) official," Genba said, indicating the timing is not appropriate, given the territorial rows with the two countries.

Last month, some Chinese activists landed on the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. South Korean President Lee Myung Bak meanwhile visited disputed islets in the Sea of Japan, known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea. Japan's ties with both countries subsequently turned south.

Referring to the possibility of brief contact between Noda and Chinese President Hu Jintao and Lee at the APEC summit, Genba said impromptu exchanges of opinions are possible.

Budget for isle claim


The Foreign Ministry aims to increase spending to highlight to the world Japan's claim of sovereignty over South Korean-controlled islands in the Sea of Japan, its fiscal 2013 budget request showed Friday.

Spending of ¥1 billion was added to the ministry's budget request, which totaled ¥645.2 billion, up 4.5 percent from its fiscal 2012 initial budget.

The ministry plans to strengthen its online promotion of Japan's position on the islands, called Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea. It will also organize symposiums at home and abroad inviting experts on the islands. The ministry also requested ¥450.3 billion in official development assistance outlays, up 7.7 percent from the fiscal 2012 initial budget.

The ODA budget request includes ¥59.8 billion for transferring Japanese environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technologies, as well as spending for the establishment of embassies in five countries, including South Sudan and Bhutan.

The Japan Coast Guard, meanwhile, unveiled the same day its fiscal 2013 budget request including plans to boost personnel and its fleet of patrol vessels to tighten surveillance around East China Sea islands effectively controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

The coast guard hopes to increase its staff by 150, some of whom will be deployed to a new unit in Okinawa to be created in a reorganization designed to provide better security for the islands, called Senkaku by Japanese and Diaoyu by Chinese.

It also plans to replace some patrol ships with new ones, some of which would be used to block Chinese nationalists' ships from approaching the islands.

The budget request includes a planned new system to relay live images of suspicious ships from helicopters to the coast guard's headquarters.

S. Korean island drills


SEOUL — South Korea's Coast Guard and military on Friday began exercises near the pair of rocky islets disputed with Japan in the Sea of Japan, according to South Korean military authorities.

The four-day biannual drill near the South Korean-controlled islets, which are known as Dokdo to South Koreans and Takeshima to Japanese, will involve the army, air force and coast guard, and is aimed at repelling an encroaching vessel.

The coast guard will play a leading role in defending the islets under this year's scenario, while the military will provide support in practicing for a situation where civilians illegally land on the islets.

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The Japan Times

Article 7 of 12 in National news

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