Submarine near Okinawa ID’d; source hints it’s China’s but Onodera stays mum

Kyodo, Jiji

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Monday the government has identified the country whose submarine was detected while submerged the previous day near Okinawa and will call for such encroachments to cease.

Onodera did not disclose the country, saying the vessel did not intrude into Japanese territorial waters, but a government source said Sunday the sub apparently belongs to China.

“We will convey to them that we are fully aware (of the sub’s identification) and urge restraint,” he said. “We need to share information among Japan, the United States and South Korea.”

The unidentified sub was detected by a P-3C patrol aircraft of the Maritime Self-Defense Force early Sunday in Japan’s contiguous zone south of Okinawa’s Minamidaito Island, but it did not enter Japanese waters, the Defense Ministry said.

Sailing in Japan’s contiguous zone, an area outside territorial waters where Japanese law may be applied, poses no problem in terms of international law. But when passing through territorial waters of other countries, submarines must sail on the surface and show their national flags.

The incident came after a suspected Chinese Navy sub sailed submerged in the contiguous zone around Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on May 2 and another, also believed to be Chinese, did likewise in the contiguous zone around Okinawa’s Kumejima on May 12.

  • RMMStaInes

    Chinese navy are muscling their neighbors showing their power. Encroachment such these should be dealt with accidentally released depth charges so that they will not habitually doing it. This bully will not stop until the weaklings surrender and abide with them. Its time for the weaklings to unite and smite this greedy giant!

    • Michael Williams

      I agree. But saying Japan and the Self Defense Forces are weaklings is contrary to my point of view; the SDF is excellently trained and very well equipped. Their capabilities rival or exceed the capabilities of most nations in the European Union. Additionally, having the United States in their corner, makes Japan anything but weak.