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NEW YORK — The Tokyo Metropolitan Government ran an ad in Friday’s Wall Street Journal asking for U.S. support over its plan to buy four of the Senkaku Islands from their private owners.
Covering two-thirds of a page and titled “To the American People from Tokyo, Japan,” the ad said, “It is with the hope of gaining the understanding and support of the American people for our purchase of the Senkaku Islands that we are running this issue advocacy ad today.”
Claiming that China is ramping up pressure over the territorial dispute, the ad warned that “failure to support the Asian nations confronting China would result in the United States losing the entire Pacific Ocean.”
Tensions have risen recently, with Chinese vessels repeatedly spotted in the islets’ surrounding waters.
The ad said that the Senkakus are “historically Japanese territory” and located in Okinawa Prefecture, “which is of indispensable geostrategic importance to U.S. force projection.”
Gov. Shintaro Ishihara announced Tokyo’s plan to purchase the uninhabited but potentially resource-rich isles in April.
China claims that the islets, which it refers to as the Diaoyu, have been part of its territory since ancient times, but Japan maintains they are an integral part of Japanese territory and that there is no territorial dispute between the two countries.