1 year after purchase, Japan heightens security near islands in dispute with China

Japan has increased security around a group of disputed islands it nationalized one year ago amid strong protests from China, which also claims them and has been stepping up patrols of its own as tensions rise between the two nations.

Tokyo and Beijing are at odds over the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

Wednesday marks the first anniversary of Japan's purchase of several of the islands from their private owners — a sale China says was invalid. Both countries have since regularly sent coast guard vessels and aircraft to the area to assert their competing claims.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said surveillance had been increased in the area for the anniversary, but did provide details. No incidents were reported as of early Wednesday afternoon.