Asahi Shimbun (August 4) quoted Japan's Defense Minister Taro Kono saying at a news conference on August 4, that “The SDF will act firmly when necessary while joining hands with the Japan Coast Guard.” Asked to elaborate on what such action might entail, Kono declined, saying, “We do not want to show our cards.”Kono added that China Coast Guard vessels had drastically expanded their activities around the Senkaku Islands in recent years. A senior Japan Defense Ministry official said Kono’s comment was meant to serve as a warning to China in the context of the expected arrival of Chinese fishing boats this month. Large numbers of Chinese fishing boats are expected to reach waters close to the Senkaku islands, which China calls the Diaoyu Islands, around mid-August following the lifting of a suspension period imposed by Chinese authorities. The official said "The defense minister was talking about the SDF's regular warning and surveillance activity." Activity by China Coast Guard vessels in the contiguous zone adjacent to Japanese territorial waters around the islands, which come under Okinawa Prefecture's jurisdiction, set a record of 111 days in a row on Aug. 2. The officials said the Chinese vessels will very likely return to the contiguous zone once the typhoon threat is gone. The vessels' daily entry in the zone began on April 14. Until a few years ago, only two or three China Coast Guard vessels entered the area. In more recent years, it is usually four. The vessels are getting larger in size, with many larger than the mainstay 1,000-ton Japan Coast Guard patrol vessels. By August 2, Japan saw a total of 731 China Coast Guard vessels entering the zone over 205 days. The Japan Coast Guard believes this activity reflects Beijing’s intention to control the islands by stepping up the pressure. 

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