As tension continues to heat up between Japan and China over ownership of the Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands, both countries are reportedly turning to unmanned drones in order to help establish their territorial claims. The Nikkei Shimbun reports, recently re-elected prime minister Shinzo Abe recently indicated that Japan would be tightening up its surveillance of the region following repeated sightings of Chinese vessels nearby. As part of that plan, Abe has begun to consider accelerating the country’s plans to introduce American-made Global Hawk surveillance drones, originally slated to begin in 2016. Beijing, on the other hand, is reportedly readying a drone of its own, likely based on the US’s X–47B, says The Guardian.

A dispute that's inflamed anti-Japanese sentiment in China

The development is the most recent news in a dispute that’s inflamed anti-Japanese sentiment in China, causing mass protests, attacks on Japanese factories, and the development of inflammatory video games. With both countries refusing to acknowledge the other’s claims to the disputed territory, we doubt that the addition of UAVs to the equation is likely to help ameliorate the already strained relations.