The owner of three of the Senkaku Islands has informed Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara that he has agreed to sell them to the central government, sources said.
The owner met Friday with Ishihara, who earlier said he would not be persuaded to drop the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's bid to buy the three islets until he received a face-to-face explanation about the sale. The owner told him an agreement had been reached with the central government and apologized, the sources said.
Earlier in the week, sources said the central government had agreed to purchase the three uninhabited islets in the East China Sea for ¥2.05 billion, a move likely to further strain already tense relations with China.
China has slammed the move and hinted at countermeasures to safeguard its claimed sovereignty over them.
Ownership of the islets has drawn attention since Ishihara's surprise announcement in April that the metropolitan government planned to purchase three of them by the end of the year to protect Japanese territory.
The Senkakus, administered by Japan, are claimed by China, which refers to them as Diaoyu, and by Taiwan, where they go by the name Tiaoyutai.
The central government plans to buy and nationalize Uotsuri, Kitakojima and Minamikojima.
The islet of Taishojima is already owned by the central government. The remaining islet, Kubajima, is owned by a younger sister of the owner of the other three islands and is being leased by the Defense Ministry. The U.S. military uses it as a bombing exercise site.
Ishihara last month sent a team to assess the islets' features and possible appraisal value, but it was not allowed to land.
Source: Japan Times
More seriously though, Japan, please be careful. :( Things are getting a little scary.