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Politics

Japan to bulk up Senkaku patrols as more Chinese ships enter area

Coast Guard plans 50% more ships in area as Beijing asserts claim over islands

Japan Coast Guard vessel PS206 Houou sails in front of Uotsuri island, part of the Senkaku chain in the East China Sea.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will expand its fleet of large coast guard patrol vessels around the Senkaku Islands by nearly half before April 2023 in response to the record number of Chinese ships that have sailed through those waters this year.

Tokyo aims to assign 22 ships of 1,000 tons or larger to the East China Sea chain. Twelve vessels are tasked with patrolling the Senkakus at present, while three more are stationed in the area for other purposes, such as watching for illegal operations by North Korean fishing boats.

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