A few years ago, no one gave much thought to the barren, generally deserted Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. But today, the tiny islands and rock formations are at the center of an ongoing dispute between Japan and China, which both lay claim to the outcrops.
Tensions escalated in September when the islands, formerly owned by a rich Japanese businessman, were sold to the Japanese government. Demonstrations have erupted across China, and violence has even prompted Canon, Panasonic and other Japanese industry giants to shutter their Chinese factories.
VOA Interactive: Michael Lipin, Alison Klein, Dino Beslagic