• Kyodo

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The National Police Agency plans to increase from fiscal 2015 the number of officers assigned to the Okinawa Prefectural Police to strengthen security around the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, agency officials said Thursday.

The agency will seek funding in its budget for the year from next April to assign dozens of additional officers to Okinawa, where they will serve aboard Japan Coast Guard vessels patroling territorial waters around the islet group.

The move comes as Chinese government vessels have repeatedly intruded into Japanese waters near the Senkakus. The Japanese-controlled islands are claimed by China and Taiwan, which call them Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.

The personnel increase for the Senkaku guard is part of an earlier agreement between the NPA and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to seek to expand the number of police officers around the country by 3,000 over the three years from fiscal 2015.

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