• Kyodo

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The ruling Liberal Democratic Party plans to submit a bill to the Diet aimed at keeping remote islands near borders inhabited as China becomes increasingly assertive on the high seas, party officials said Friday.

The LDP’s panels on disputed islands and the economic promotion of remote islands, held a joint meeting Friday and proposed an outline of the bill, which encourages the central government to purchase land on those islands and provide financial support to residents.

The bill would prompt the central government to build more roads, ports and airports on such islands and help support the operations of the Self-Defense Forces and the Japan Coast Guard on them.

More than 30 islands will be designated as priority areas for the supportive measures, based on their geographical significance and the pace of depopulation. Among the islands will be Rebun, Rishiri and Okushiri off Hokkaido, Sado Island in the Sea of Japan, and Tsushima, Iki and the Goto islands off Kyushu.

As for financial support, the bill would call on the central government to partially subsidize transportation costs for the islanders, create jobs for them and provide financial assistance to fishermen, the officials said.