Chinese national media has reported that roughly 1,000 fishing boats have set sail from mainland China are due to arrive in the waters surrounding the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands before the end of Monday. Having departed from several coastal provinces like Fujian and Zhejiang, this act could be endorsed by Beijing as one of the largest oppositions against Japan and its government’s nationalization of the disputed territory. Should the large number of Chinese fishing boats enter Japan’s territorial waters, they will undoubtedly encounter the patrol ships of the Japan Coast Guard.
It is also believed that the armada could be accompanied by the six Chinese patrol ships that have been stationed near the islands since last week. On Friday, those six ships entered Japanese waters and prompted a standoff with the Japan Coast Guard warning them to leave. Chinese fishing authorities have already said that they will be observing and overlooking the boats’ activities.
As Tuesday, September 18th, marks the 81st anniversary of Japan’s invasion of Manchuria in 1931, these fishing boats may be part of a large-scale demonstration to dwarf even the wide-spread violent protests that took place all over China throughout the weekend. Several large Japanese companies halted their operations after reports of vandalism and destruction of Japanese property, while Prime Minister Noda called on Beijing to exert more effort in restraining the violence and protecting the safety of all Japanese nationals living in China.