Japan attempted yesterday to cool the passions aroused by the Diaoyu Islands dispute, urgently calling for calm. 'We are concerned about the rising sentiment of the Chinese people, especially in Hong Kong and Taipei,' said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hiroshi Hashimoto. Side-stepping the question of how Japan would like the dispute resolved, Mr Hashimoto said the Government wanted to see 'the Chinese and Japanese peoples approach this matter calmly' so as not to affect bilateral relations. He hoped China would not use force. 'Even the United States says this kind of issue should be settled peacefully and not through force,' he said. 'And I don't think China intends to use force on this issue.' He repeated Japan's claim that the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan, were an 'integral part' of its territory. But he refused to say whether the Marine Safety Department would give approval to the lighthouse built by Japanese rightists, which is at the centre of the dispute. 'The Government of Japan is now tackling a study on how to respond to this application [for a licence]. We haven't reached a conclusion yet,' said Mr Hashimoto. Asked what Japan would do if Hong Kong activists tried to land on the uninhabited island and dismantle the lighthouse, officials said the position was the same as when a flotilla was rumoured to be leaving Taiwan at the end of July. There could be no response before the protesters' true intention became clear, he said.