The Defense Ministry said Monday in Tokyo that a Chinese naval intelligence vessel has been seen sailing outside the contiguous zone off Japan's Boso Peninsula,Chiba Prefecture, several times since Thursday.

The vessel did not enter Japanese territorial waters, the ministry said, adding it is the second time such a Chinese naval vessel has been spotted in the area since late December.

According to the ministry, the vessel sailed to the southwest in the Pacific Ocean off the Boso Peninsula then turned toward the northeast.

The same vessel was spotted in the Tsushima Strait and Tsugaru Strait several times starting on Jan. 26.