The Japan Coast Guard said that on Sunday, February 10, at around 7 o’clock in the morning, the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture spotted four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels entering the contiguous zone, adjacent to the territorial waters around the Japanese-controlled group of islands, which China claims. This is the first time Chinese ships have been seen in the area since a Chinese frigate was reported to have directed fire-control radar at a Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) destroyer on the high seas in the morning of January 30.
The Defense Ministry made public the radar-locking on Tuesday, February 5, to which the Chinese government vehemently denied. Its own Defense Ministry, during a press conference on January 6, said that it had no knowledge of their patrol ship using a weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese military ship and that it only learned of this through various media reports. However, the next day, Chinese news agencies reported that an “expert” noted that the use of weapons radar to lock-on was common practice, and that it is often returned by the opposite side.
Meanwhile, according to Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is thinking of disclosing evidence pertaining to the radar incidents to prove that the accusations are accurate. These Chinese vessels have also been seen around the Senkakus again after Onodera previously said that they have “calmed” since his Tuesday’s announcement regarding the radar-locking incident.[via Kyodo]