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Japanese nationalists pray ahead of departure to disputed islands

Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 00:35

Aug. 17 - About 20 activists from a Japanese nationalist group pray ahead of departure for waters at the centre of a territorial row with China. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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About 20 Japanese activists prayed on Saturday ahead of their late night departure for disputed waters at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute with China. They are due to head for a handful of uninhabited islets known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, and are expected to arrive in the early hours of Sunday. The region is seeing an increasingly risky cat-and-mouse game between Asia's two largest economies with fighter planes scrambled and patrol ships facing off. Last week, Chinese patrol boats entered Japanese territorial waters and stayed there for more than 24 hours, the longest since surveillance around the islands was increased after Japan purchased several of them from a private owner in September 2012. The waters around the islands, about 170 kilometres (105 miles) from Japan's southerly Ishigaki island, are rich fishing grounds and also have potentially huge oil and gas reserves. Japanese ships are allowed to sail to the waters around them, but the Japanese government generally prohibits landing.

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Japanese nationalists pray ahead of departure to disputed islands

Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 00:35