Japan moves to protect, inhabit border islands

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Tokyo, March 21: Japan's governing and opposition parties have jointly submitted a bill to help maintain islands on the country's border and keep them inhabited to secure the territory, the media reported on Monday.

The governing Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner Komeito, the largest opposition Democratic Party and three other parties submitted the bill to the Lower House, public broadcaster NHK reported.

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The move is in response to China's expanding maritime activities in recent years that have increased tension in regional waters.

Chinese ships have trespassed in Japanese territorial waters many times near the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

The bill calls for designating 71 inhabited islands, including Rebun Island in Hokkaido and the Tsushima Islands in Nagasaki prefectures, along the Japanese border as bases for protecting Japan's territorial waters and exclusive economic zone.

The bill also calls for creating a system to prevent illegal entry, and for measures to keep ferry and flight fares to and from those remote islands reasonable.

IANS

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