Hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Tuesday Tokyo could mount a military response if foreign submarines enter its territorial waters while underwater, as Japan and China continue to squabble over islands.
Abe’s comment came after Japan’s Defence Ministry said a submerged vessel was spotted in the contiguous waters — a 12 nautical mile strip outside territorial waters — near one of Japan’s Okinawa islands, from late Sunday to early Monday.
The government would not confirm media reports it was a Chinese sub.“These are serious acts. If (submarines) enter our territorial waters while underwater, we would have to implement maritime security action,” Abe said on Tuesday. He did not clarify further, but the form of words he used may indicate the defence minister could order action by Japan’s Self Defense Forces.