Japan called on China Monday to see "reality" and "accept" there are widespread international concerns over Beijing's controversial air defense zone.
The comment by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's right-hand man came after China singled out Japan for criticism when 11 Asian countries stressed the importance of freedom of overflight at a summit in Tokyo, in a move seen as targeting Beijing.
"We think China should see the reality that many countries in the international community share concerns about the Air Defense Identification Zone and seriously accept it," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular briefing.
A joint statement by Japan and leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), "agreed to enhance cooperation in ensuring freedom of overflight and civil aviation safety".
While the statement did not name China, it was seen as a clear rebuke for Beijing, which has sovereignty disputes with Japan and with four members of the economic bloc, and which has been repeatedly accused of intimidation and coercion.
China has denounced as "slanderous" remarks by Abe at the weekend summit calling for Beijing to rescind its air zone, which was widely criticised as increasing regional tensions.
The U.S., Japan and South Korea have accused China of unilaterally changing the status quo by declaring an air defense zone in the East China Sea last month, in which it wants all aircraft to obey its orders.
The zone covers territory that is at the center of separate disputes with Japan and South Korea.
Some analysts fear the ADIZ in the East China Sea is a forerunner to a similar zone in the South China Sea, which Beijing claims almost in its entirety.© (c) 2013 AFP