Senkaku Islands are close to strategically important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits.
Japan and China claim the uninhabited islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Tiaoyu in China, as their own.
The Senkakus island chain has been administered by Japan since 1972, but its legal status has remained disputed until now.
The Senkaku Islands are an uninhabited group of islands situated in the East China Sea, approximately 90 nautical miles north from the Yaeyama Islands in Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture and 120 nautical miles northeast of the island of Taiwan.
The islands comprise Uotsuri Island, Kuba Island, Taisho Island (also called Kumeakashima Island), Kitakojima Island, Minamikojima Island, Tobise Island, Okinokitaiwa Island, and Okinominamiiwa Island.
The total land area of all the islands is roughly 6.3 square kilometers, with the largest, Uotsuri Island, being some 3.6 square kilometers in size.
Before World War II, as a result of development by private citizens, there were people living in the Senkakus, principally on Uotsuri Island and Kuba Island. However, the islands are now uninhabited.