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Taiwan activists sail to Diaoyutai Islands ahead of Japanese name change

Japan scheduled to change island's name to Tonoshiro Senkaku on Oct. 1

Taiwanese activists plan to head for the disputed Diaoyutai Islands 

Taiwanese activists plan to head for the disputed Diaoyutai Islands  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese activists set sail Wednesday (Sept. 30) for the Diaoyutai Islands as a name change approved by Japan was set to take effect the following day.

The Japanese city of Ishigaki voted in June to the official area name from Tonoshiro to “Tonoshiro Senkaku” (登野城尖閣), with Senkaku the Japanese name for the Diaoyutai. The uninhabited islands are also claimed by Taiwan, which regards them as part of the Yilan County township of Toucheng.

About 20 activists left the northern Taiwanese port of Keelung Wednesday afternoon with the intention of asserting Taiwan’s sovereignty over the Diaoyutai Islands, UDN reported. Similar expeditions over the past three decades have frequently resulted in confrontations with the Japanese Coast Guard, with seldom successful landings.

The organizers of Wednesday’s foray accused the Taiwanese government of not caring about fishermen’s rights. The waters near the Diaoyutai Islands are abundant with fish, while reserves of gas and oil are suspected to be located in the area.

The trip comes after a Taiwanese fishing trawler and a Japanese Coast Guard vessel collided on Sept. 27. The Diaoyutai activists have demanded an apology from the Japanese government and accused the Tsai administration of failing to protect the Taiwanese fishermen’s interests.