The Japan and Taiwan Coast guard vessels on July 4, 2012 bumped in to each other in waters near the disputed island chain. Japan’s coast guard said that the incident happened when the Taiwanese vessel was escorting activists to the area.

The vessel of Taiwan was a part of a small flotilla which had accompanied a fishing boat carrying at least nine activists to waters near the islands known as the Diaoyu in Chinese, It is also known as Senkaku in Japanese.

The Taiwanese patrol ship carried a Japanese language banner which said, This is territory of the Republic of China”. A Japanese coast guard official said that five Taiwanese vessels entered the Japanese waters and claims it territory shortly after 7 am and left the area by noon on Wednesday.

On the other hand the disputed islands are also claimed by China and are occasionally s subject of dispute between Tokyo and Beijing. There has been a nasty confrontation in the year 2010 when Japan arrested a Chinese trawlerman who had rammed in to two of its patrol vessels. The stand off of about a week long came to an end only after Japan released the captain. The move was widely seen as a diplomatic black eye for Tokyo.