Uotsuri (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima make up three out of five of the Senkaku islands, or the Diaoyu islands as they are referred to in China. Photo: Reuters

Japan lodged a formal protest with China on Thursday after Chinese coastguard vessels entered Japanese-claimed territorial waters and a suspected drone flew near a ship, reports Reuters.

“The Senkaku islands are Japan’s inherent territory and the entry into the territorial waters by the Chinese government ships is absolutely unacceptable,” an official from the Japanese Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying.

China has consistently rejected Japan’s criticism of these patrols and claims the islands, known by the Chinese as Diaoyu, as its territory.

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