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Japanese activists land on disputed island

Two Japanese activists landed on an island at the centre of a bitter dispute with China on Tuesday, the government in Tokyo said.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2012 08:16 IST

Two Japanese activists landed on an island at the centre of a bitter dispute with China on Tuesday, the government in Tokyo said.

"Two Japanese landed on Uotsurijima at about 9:30 am (0030 GMT)," Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters, referring to the largest island in the chain. "The coastguard said they have already left," he said.

Jiji Press, citing police in Okinawa, said the two were from Japan's main southern island of Kyushu.

A landing on the island by pro-Beijing nationalists in August marked the start of a sudden worsening of relations between China and Japan, both of which claim the uninhabited but coveted archipelago.

Tokyo announced last week it had bought three of the islands, which it administers under the name Senkaku, from their private Japanese landowner.

China also claims sovereignty over the chain, which it calls Diaoyu.