Chinese naval ship spotted in Japanese territorial waters

This is the first reported spotting of a Chinese vessel in Japanese waters since November 2021
China flag
China flag
(Wang Xiaofeng/VCG via Getty Images)

A Chinese Navy ship has been spotted in Japanese waters near islands off the prefecture of Kagoshima, according to Japan's Defense Ministry.

A Chinese survey ship entered Japanese territorial waters at about 11 p.m. on Tuesday and sailed out of the waters south of Yakushima Island at about 2:10 a.m., according to an observance by the Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Coast Guard.

The ship's presence is the first such event reported by the Defense Ministry since late last year. Japan's government has reportedly contacted China about the incident via diplomatic channels. 

Chinese ships have frequently been spotted in Japanese waters in recent months, primarily near the Senkaku Islands, a group of uninhabited islets in the East China Sea controlled by Japan but also claimed by China under the name Diaoyu.

China's increased military presence in the South and East China seas has been a source of constant friction and worry for countries in the region, which feel they must prepare for possible waves of Chinese aggression.