Since Japan bought the uninhabited Senkaku islets from their private Japanese owners, Chinese ships and aircraft have made routine incursions into what Japan claims are its sovereign waters and airspace.
In November last year China also created an aerial defence identification zone – an area that serves as an early warning system of incursions into its airspace, which can result in the scrambling of fighter jets – over the East China Sea in a move that experts said greatly raised the chance of conflict. This year, Mr Abe accused China of flying fighter jets "dangerously" close to Japanese aircraft. The US recently warned China about similar actions.
Kyodo said four Chinese coast guard ships entered Japanese waters around the Senkaku on Wednesday, in the 22nd such intrusion this year. However, the pace of incursions has declined from last year, when Chinese vessels sailed in the waters on 54 occasions, according to data from the Japanese coast guard.
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Some experts have suggested that China has reduced maritime patrols around the Senkaku as its coast guard and navy focus on the South China Sea, where Beijing is involved in a series of maritime disputes with its neighbours, particularly the Philippines and Vietnam. In the poll, the biggest reason for Japan's unfavourable view of China was the belief that Beijing's actions were "incompatible with international rules".
According to the poll, which has been conducted annually since the last trough in Sino-Japanese relations in 2005, Chinese and Japanese respondents both said the biggest hurdle to relations was territorial disputes, although the number voicing that view declined more than 10 points from 2012.
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