Japanese donate 1 billion yen to buy disputed islands
The Tokyo metropolitan government has received 1 billion yen (12.8 million dollars) in donations since plans were revealed to buy a disputed set of islands in the East China Sea, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said Friday.
Some 7,000 donations totaling around 1.01 billion yen were sent to the metropolitan government as of Friday noon, the governor said.
"I am surprised by so many donations only in a month," Ishihara told a news conference. "It would be the best if we could buy the islands with donations because we wouldn't have to use taxpayers' money."
The governor said in mid-April that Tokyo was in talks with the owners of the islands to purchase them by the end of this year.
The islands - called Senkaku in Japan, Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan - are claimed by all three countries.
In September 2010, a Chinese fishing boat's collision with a Japanese coastguard vessel near islands and the subsequent arrest of the captain led to the worst diplomatic row in recent years between the two countries.