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Japan mulls US spy drones for marine surveillance—report

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02:39 AM January 1st, 2013

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January 1st, 2013 02:39 AM

In this Sept. 2, 2012 file photo, the survey ship Koyo Maru, left, chartered by Tokyo Metropolitan Government officials, sails around Minamikojima, foreground, Kitakojima, middle right, and Uotsuri, background, the tiny islands in the East China Sea, called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Japan is considering introducing US spy drones to boost surveillance of its territorial waters near islands in the East China Sea at the center of a bitter dispute with Beijing, Kyodo News said Monday. Dec. 31, 2012. AP PHOTO/KYODO NEWS

TOKYO—Japan is considering introducing US spy drones to boost surveillance of its territorial waters near islands in the East China Sea at the center of a bitter dispute with Beijing, Kyodo News said Monday.

The Japanese defense ministry hopes to introduce the unmanned Global Hawk aircraft by 2015 “in a bid to counter China’s growing assertiveness at sea, especially when it comes to the Senkaku Islands,” the news agency said, citing unnamed government officials.

Beijing has been sending maritime patrol vessels into waters around the Japanese-controlled islands, which China claims as Diaoyu, since Tokyo nationalized the chain in September.

China is apparently seeking to prove that it can come and go in the area at will, and on Monday three of Beijing’s ships were spotted in the waters around the islands, according to Japan’s coastguard, in the latest perceived incursion.

An earlier report on Monday said China has transferred two destroyers and nine other former navy vessels to its maritime surveillance fleet.

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