The Okinawa Prefectural Police will set up a special section to prevent Japanese right-wing activists and others from trespassing on the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, sources said Tuesday.

The section, to be launched in April under the public safety department, will collect information on people and organizations in Japan that may attempt to make a landing on the islands without permission, according to sources.

Behind the launch are heightened tensions over the Japanese-administered Senkaku chain in the East Japan Sea. Beijing also claims the islands, calling them Diaoyu.

The Okinawa police will expand their security bureau as part of their reorganization set for Thursday. The bureau’s investigation division that deal with extremists and right-wing groups will have a larger staff in order to create the new section.

Japanese waters around the islands in the city of Ishigaki have seen repeated intrusions by Chinese coast guard ships.

In 2020, Chinese government ships were spotted inside the contiguous zone surrounding the waters for the largest number of days in a year since Japan nationalized the islands in 2012.

On Monday, Chinese coast guard vessels sailed in Japanese waters off the islands for nine hours, even attempting to approach Japanese fishing boats.

To counter China’s increased pressure, some activists in Japan are preparing to sail to the islands and make a landing. They could be charged with minor offenses if they land on the state-owned islands without permission.

The Okinawa police see such attempts as an emerging security problem and concluded that a special section to address it was necessary, according to the sources.

Last year, the police set up a special patrol unit to deal with illegal landing by Chinese activists on remote border islands such as the Senkaku chain.

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