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Chinese maritime surveillance vessels intruded into Japanese waters Sunday near the Senkaku Islands, a Japanese-controlled islet group claimed by China, the Japan Coast Guard said.
The three ships were observed entering the territorial waters in the East China Sea around 11 a.m. in the 42nd such incident since Tokyo nationalized the majority of the uninhibited islets last September, according to the coast guard which said its patrol ships warned by radio for them to get out.
Shinsuke Sugiyama, director general of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, telephoned China's minister to Japan, Han Zhiqiang, to lodge a protest, a ministry official said.
One of the ships had been spotted in the area just outside the territory since Friday, with the other two joining it early Sunday as another two departed after having been in the area for the past three days, the coast guard said.