Japan on Sunday said that a Chinese navy survey vessel entered its territorial waters near islands close to the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, the latest confirmed sighting of Chinese ships in the area since December last.
Citing the Defense Ministry, Kyodo News Agency reported that the survey ship crossed into Japanese waters from southwest of Yakushima Island in the prefecture at around 2:30 a.m. local time.
The latest intrusion, the ministry said, marked the seventh entry by a Chinese survey vessel into waters off Kagoshima since November 2021.
Tokyo has conveyed its concern about the latest intrusion to Beijing through "diplomatic channels," the ministry said.
The vessel sailed out of the territorial waters near Kuchinoshima Island, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) southwest of Yakushima, at around 4:10 a.m. local time.
Tokyo often accuses Chinese vessels of repeatedly violating its territorial waters, notably near the Senkaku Islands, a group of East China Sea islets controlled by Japan but claimed by China under the name Diaoyu.
There was no immediate reaction from Beijing.
Survey vessels are often used to conduct research, such as determining underwater topography for submarine navigation