April 28, 2022
TOKYO – A Chinese navy vessel was spotted in Japan’s territorial waters near islands in Kagoshima Prefecture on Tuesday, according to the Defense Ministry.
At about 8:30 p.m., a Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer and a Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel spotted a Shupang-class survey ship west of Kuchinoerabu Island in Japan’s contiguous zone, which covers an area about 22 kilometers beyond territorial waters.
The ship entered Japanese territorial waters off the island at about 11 p.m. and sailed out of territorial waters south off Yakushima island at about 2:10 a.m. on Wednesday, heading southeast.
It was the fifth time the Chinese navy has entered territorial waters and was the first intrusion since November 2021.
The government conveyed its concerns to the Chinese side through diplomatic channels.
The U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea allows a warship to sail through the territorial waters of another country as long as it is an “innocent passage” that does not involve hostile action. However, surveying activities are not considered to fall under this category.
The ministry has been gathering information on the purpose of the voyage.
A Shupang-class survey ship also entered Japanese territorial waters off Yakushima island in November 2021.