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Japanese party urges Google to drop Chinese name for disputed islands

From Junko Ogura, CNN
Photos of the disputed islands of Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China  displayed on September 11, 2010.
Photos of the disputed islands of Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China displayed on September 11, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The islands belong to Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party says
  • They are known as the Senkaku in Japan and as the Diaoyu in China
  • Japan's foreign minister says he supports the LDP's request
  • The islands were part of a recent diplomatic battle between Tokyo and Beijing
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Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's main opposition party has filed a protest with search-engine giant Google, urging it to delete from its mapping service the Chinese name for a cluster of disputed islands.

The islands in the East China Sea are known as the Senkaku in Japan and as the Diaoyu in China.

"It is clear that the Senkaku Islands are under the effective control of Japan in both history and the international law. Therefore, there is no territorial dispute to be resolved over the islands," the Liberal Democratic Party said Wednesday.

"It is clearly wrong to list the names as if a territorial dispute exists with China in this area. We strongly call you to delete it as soon as possible," the party said to Google.

Asked about the LDP's move, Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara said, "The LDP's action was totally upright. If necessary, the Japanese government will also take action together."

His ministry "will lodge a protest within a few days," he said.

Google, based in the United States, was not immediately available for comment.

Beijing says the Diaoyu Islands and most of the South China Sea belong to China, disputing neighboring countries' claims. The clash over territorial waters and islands -- and the natural resources that go with them -- is a flash point in the Asia-Pacific region.

Last month, China and Japan clashed over Japan's arrest of a Chinese fishing captain. The battle escalated into diplomatic threats by Beijing, the suspension of diplomatic talks and canceled trips between the nations.

"If you read history documents, Chinese first discovered the island and put it in effective administration," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at the time.

Chinese state-run media also has repeatedly run articles claiming China's "indisputable sovereign rights" to the islands.

Japan late last month freed the fishing captain, who returned to a hero's welcome in China.

Critics blasted Japan's government for backtracking, with some saying it had put business interests first.

 
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