On Aug. 18, the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) confirmed that approximately 40 Chinese fishing vessels were operating in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands. No incursions into or operations in Japan’s territorial waters have been confirmed, but the JCG is increasing its vigilance and surveillance.
The fishing season set by China for the East China Sea, including the Senkakus, started on Aug. 16. According to the JCG, a total of about 40 ships were confirmed, mainly scattered in the high seas to the north and to the west of the Senkakus, at around 7:00 a.m. on Aug. 18. The number of trawlers spotted around the outcrops on that day was almost the same as in the previous two years.
Chinese fishing outside the territorial waters around the deserted islets is legal under a bilateral fisheries agreement.
China claims territorial rights to the Senkakus. In August 2016, some 200 to 300 Chinese fishing boats filled the area around the Senkakus when the fishing season started. Some of them intruded into Japan’s territorial waters, followed by China Coast Guard (CCG) patrol boats.
At a press conference on Aug. 18, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kato Katsunobu pointed out that “Japan will never accept the recurrence of such a situation.” He stressed that the JCG and other relevant ministries and agencies will take every possible measure to monitor the situation.
On the same day, the JCG also confirmed four CCG vessels were in the contiguous zone outside Japan’s territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands. This was the tenth consecutive day that Chinese government ships were sighted near the Senkakus.