The Tokyo metropolitan government filed a written request last week with the central government for permission to land on Uotsurijima in the disputed island chain, but the request was left pending due to flaws in the application, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said Monday.
The Tokyo government has announced plans to buy the disputed islands, which are located in the jurisdiction of Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture.
Filed on Friday evening, the request was left pending because of problems in the application concerning the landing date and who would be landing on the islands, the top government spokesman said.
Fujimura would not disclose during a news conference Monday whether the government will approve the landing.
He said a decision would be made after the government comprehensively considers the request's content, the necessity of the landing, the intentions of the owner of the disputed islands, and the government's need to maintain the islands peacefully and stably based on lease contracts with the landowner.
The metropolitan government said Monday the request was not official and that officials of the metropolitan and central governments were finalizing talks on the application forms.
It said it plans to file a formal request after attaching a letter of agreement written by the islands' owner, who lives in Saitama Prefecture.
Police question disputed island visitors
Police on Monday questioned 10 people who landed on one of the disputed islands on Sunday, on suspicion of entering land controlled by the government without permission, but are unlikely to file charges against them.
The government restricts all unauthorized landing on the disputed islands in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture; anyone who does so is considered to have broken the law.
However, in past cases, the Okinawa prefectural police did not mount a case against members of the Ishigaki municipal assembly and others who landed on the islands. In keeping with that precedent, the police plan not to build a case against the 10 individuals involved in Sunday's landing.
After being questioned, Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly member Akihiro Suzuki told reporters that the group had not planned to land on Uotsurijima island.
"I hoped to visit the island as part of the process of the Tokyo metropolitan government's planned purchase of the disputed islands. I apologise for the trouble my private actions have caused," he said.
Sunday's landing came just days after a group of activists from a private Hong Kong group illegally landed on the island, which is also claimed by China
"We should more openly demonstrate our will to protect our own country," Suzuki said.
The 10 people who landed on the island took part in a service to console the spirits of people who died in a shipwreck and other incidents off the islands in 1945 during the Pacific War.
According to other participants, the 10 jumped into the sea from their boat after the service ended Sunday morning and swam to Uotsurijima island. They raised Hinomaru national flags on the island's lighthouse and elsewhere, and stayed there for about 1-1/2 hours.
Of the 10 people, five were members of the service's organising group, and the others were local assembly members from Tokyo, Hyogo Prefecture, Tokyo's Suginami and Arakawa wards, and Ibaraki Prefecture's Toride, according to the participants.
Before the service, the Japan Coast Guard reportedly warned the participants not to land on the island. However, soon after the service ended, the organising group members swam ashore, and the local assembly members followed them.
The local assembly members returned to Ishigakijima island Sunday night and held a press conference. They emphasised that they had not originally intended to land on the island, but that it was a sudden and spontaneous decision.