The Japanese government's nationalization of the Senkakus in the East China Sea has resulted in increased security tensions in the region for the past 10 years, prompting Tokyo, known for its pacifist Constitution, to be acutely wary of military threats from Beijing.

Japan administers the Senkakus. But China has claimed the uninhabited islets since the early 1970s, calling them Diaoyu, after studies by the United Nations indicated there may be potentially lucrative gas reserves in the area.

On Sept. 11, 2012, the government of then-Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda put the islands under state control, five months after then-Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara abruptly announced the metropolis would buy some of the Senkakus from a private Japanese owner.