Jan 4 - A visit by four Japanese politicians to a disputed island in the East China sea unleashes a regional diplomatic headache for the government. Paul Chapman reports.
Hitoshi Nakama's one of four Japanese politicians who made a controversial visit to a small island group at the centre of a regional territorial dispute. Japan, China and Taiwan all lay claim to the islands known in Japan as Senkaku and in China as Diaoyu. Nakama is unrepentant. SOUNDBITE: Hitoshi Nakama, local politician, saying (Japanese): "For my local region, for Japan, for the world, I'd like at the start of the new year to highlight this problem." Nakama and his party may yet face police questioning over their trip. Japan's government forbids anyone from landing on the islands. China's foreign ministry is also unhappy about it. SOUNDBITE: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei saying (Mandarin) : "The Chinese government has already made solemn representations and protests to the Japanese side on this issue. I would like to repeat that the Diaoyu Islands and associated islands have been part of China's territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereign rights over them" The small rocky, uninhabited, islands are part of a wider territorial dispute between China and its neighbours. All parties are citing historical and other claims over fishing areas and the possibility of rich hydrocarbon deposits. Paul Chapman, Reuters