Japan may conduct satellite research on disputed East China Sea islands -govt

The Japanese government is looking into conducting research on the natural environment of East China Sea islets claimed by China, using images captured by satellites, the top government spokesman said.

TOKYO, Oct 15 (Reuters) - The Japanese government is looking into conducting research on the natural environment of East China Sea islets claimed by China, using images captured by satellites, the top government spokesman said.

Japan's ties with China have long been plagued by a territorial row over the uninhabited, Tokyo-controlled islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

"The Environment Ministry is considering conducting research into the natural environment of the Senkaku islands as early as by the end of the year," Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular news conference.

"That will be part of the ministry's nationwide research ... and will be carried out using the latest satellite images."

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka)

((kiyoshi.takenaka@thomsonreuters.com; +81 3 4563 2788;))

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