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Japan mulls nationalising unclaimed islands

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Here we go again.

15 ( +19 / -5 )

Should have been done a couple years ago and without disclosing it. Soon China will be a mile off the the Japanese coast making claims of "ancient ownership".

4 ( +16 / -12 )

Will the LDP please choose another leader before this buffoon gets us into a really nasty situation?

9 ( +18 / -10 )

Should have been done a couple years ago and without disclosing it. Soon China will be a mile off the the Japanese coast making claims of "ancient ownership".

It would be considered as a madness if the particapant wouldn't be China or South Korea ;)

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

If their ownership is unclear, the government will give official names to the islands and nationalise them,

Define "ownership is unclear". We've went through this before. When they say "ownership is unclear", it means Japan will take them and declare them as Japanese, no matter who the ownership is.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Deja vu all over again.

Now watch as tensions simmer between China and Japan.

Japan is looking out for itself as any country would, but is diplomatic conflict vs China doing Japan any good over long term?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"If their ownership is unclear, the government will give official names to the islands and nationalise them,"

That's a very provocative move, especially since Japanese territorial claims are spread out so widely in a congested region inhabited by myriad other heavily populated countries.

If Japanese exporters find themselves further shut out of some of the world's fastest growing economies as a result, they will have no one to blame but their own government. GM already sells more than Toyota in the world's biggest car market. A sign of things to come?

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Got to love the way they say "Japan's territorial waters" to generalize when some of that territory may well be in dispute.

All the government is going to do is make it worse, rather than leave bad enough alone.

If the Japanese government would just admit their greed and wrong-headedness before 1945, I am sure a fair deal could be worked out that would involve both give and take with Japan's neighbors. But Tokyo's greedy little fist ensures Japan's tensions with every single one of her neighbors never ends.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

I know, lets poke a stick in the hornets nest and give it a shake...I wonder what will happen.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Should China, Korea, Philippines and Russia follow Abe's example and claim and name islands? This will just cause more trouble. It would be better to follow China's suggestion that these are not legally islands meaning there is nothing to dispute or at least let's not create more disputes.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

If their ownership is unclear, the government will give official names to the islands and nationalise them, the mass-circulation daily reported.

Another brilliant job by AFP. What the government stated is that if "their private ownership is unclear" they will nationalize them.

There are approximate 6000 minor islands within COASTAL area of Japan which they are investigating 400 of them. Don't want Chinese claiming some rock in Izu islands that "they are inherent part of China since beginning of time.." BS.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

If their ownership is unclear, the government will give official names to the islands and nationalise them,

This will be either seen as "colonization" or "invasion" by others, Japan spreading more oil on the fire, everything is good for the LDP to prepare the opinion for the change of the constitution.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I'll have an island please :)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Wikipedia says, "In order to prevent the island from submersion caused by erosion and maintain the claim to the EEZ, the Japanese government launched an embankment building project in 1987, and Higashikojima and Kitakojima were surrounded by concrete. Japan has encased the reefs with $280 million worth of concrete and covered the smaller one with a $50 million titanium net to shield it from debris thrown up by the ocean's waves. In fact, the Japanese government has spent over $600 million fortifying the reefs to prevent them from being completely washed away."

It seems this has been planned for a long time. This project seems to have support from the ultra-right-wing Nippon Foundation and, guess who, Shintaro Ishihara.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"If their ( the remote islands' ) ownership is unclear"

Maybe they're not Japanese islands?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Serrano, maybe they are not, by the legal definition, even islands.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

LDP in power is going to be disastrous for Japan.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

If their ownership is unclear

That means i can claim one as Kittyland?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Is it election time, anyone?

Anyway, one nation in a two-or-more nation island dispute nationalizing the islands really doesn't mean anything to the other parties involved. What's more, the Japanese government KNOWS this will further exacerbate tensions with its neighbours but will turn and say, "We c-c-c-c-can't understand why they are upset! Why don't they just cooperate and understand our position??"

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

gaijintraveller, maybe, they are, in fact, just rocks. But there be fish around them rocks, lol

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If anything is recognized as TERRA NULLIUS by the international law. Any country has the right to do so. Technically speaking. Unless the law has changed.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The truth behind this is that Shinzo Abe wants China to react before elections so he bumps nationalism and gets more votes. Abe is sure a Mastermind. I have always said it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan shud have sorted out the real islands DECADES ago, if not owned then their are a national land same as any other country. No need to go spouting off like this, only make more problems, the idiots who "run" this country continue to astound.

As for the tiny atolls like Okino-torishima...............that's just stupid, they are clearly NOT islands

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And next we will be hearing stories about how the Chinese fleet is now conducting exercises all around Japan!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why Abe never talk or try to nationalize islands on the north? They know who they play with.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Thomas Anderson,

LDP in power is going to be disastrous for Japan.

Not only for Japan - for this section of Asia.

It looks like Abe's mission orders are to create a dangerous environment so that the constitution is changed, Henoko gets built and Japan becomes a military power again.

Heavy tactics haven't worked since the days of the British Empire.

They didn't work in Vietnam and they didn't work in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Don't we ever learn?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

It is so sad to see so many foreigners mislead like so many lemmings by English media. What they really need to do is just read the original news article cited in the English article. http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20130714-OYT1T00878.htm?from=ylist

The article says that there are about 400 islands that form "territorial sea base points" of Japan. By accurately recording the islands, Japan can avoid future disputes with its neighbors. Saying "the survey will increase the tension with its neighbors" is just counter intuitive. Mending the fence will not increase the tension. Not mending the fence will increase the risk of future disputes.

Define "ownership is unclear".

Ownership is usually recorded in the land register. But very old titles, such as those from Edo period, may not be recorded in the land register. In such cases, the ownership is unclear and the government must go through legal search to identify the owner. If the land has no owner, it belongs to the government, per article 239 paragraph 2 of Civil Code. They should not use such an alarming word like "nationalization" in such a case, because the piece of land has been government property from the beginning, unlike nationalizing a private property.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Trying to revive Dai Nippon Teikoku, are we? Hubris much, Shinzo?

This is moving in the wrong direction. Perhaps it was a smart choice by the Americans to stick around and watch what happened after all. It only took some 70 odd years for Japan to show its true face again.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Typical island mentality of Japanese government.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Knox Harrington:

You should read this. http://www.karelvanwolferen.com/the-disabling-pacific-alliance And tons of other serious geo-political analysis.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Why Abe never talk or try to nationalize islands on the north? They know who they play with."

They're claimed by the Russians, who stole them.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

LDP in power is going to be disastrous for Japan.

Since you apparently know how behind Japan policy there are always the USA, you should know that no matter which party is in power, in Japan.

From the great Karel van Wolferen analysis (http://www.karelvanwolferen.com/the-disabling-pacific-alliance):

But the deeper truth to diplomatic failure is found in Japan's relationship with the elephant in the halls of global politics. Why should the Chinese sit down with Japan to discuss anything relating to the geopolitical scene, when they know tacitly that power lies elsewhere?

Yeah, it's only Japan's fault. The USA are not implied at all. Yeah.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Go for it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

chucky3176Jul. 16, 2013 - 08:10AM JST

If their ownership is unclear, the government will give official names to the islands and nationalise them,

Define "ownership is unclear". We've went through this before. When they say "ownership is unclear", it means Japan will take them and declare them as Japanese, no matter who the ownership is.

Is the concept of ownership not clear to you? If the islands are in Japanese territorial waters, they are Japanese territory. It could be that the title to some of them might not be owned by any individual or company. In some other countries it is assumed that the land belongs to the government if it is not owned privately.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's tioo late for Japan to take the step.The whole world is watching its motives the step to nationalization. China is also closely monitoring the S.D.F activities. So it may turn out to be a futile exercise by L.D.P.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

nsv if the Chinese attack the SDF is waiting for them. We will defend Japan from aggression from ANY country.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

nsvJul. 16, 2013 - 11:32AM JST

China is also closely monitoring the S.D.F activities. So it may turn out to be a futile exercise by L.D.P.

I do not follow your logic. Why it will be futile to record the islands, if China watches? Are you hinting that China will start a war against Japan for making the record of islands?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Sure this will rile the neighbours, although they do rile easily. What is the current status of these islands? Privately owned?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well Japan once thought the Same About All Islands and Continents around it and Ended in War. Suspect it is happening again. Japan wanted Australia . Now they take our whales ,all of these are Government Decisions that Ruin it for the all of the Good citizens of Japan. ..... I probably be censored, like the Murdock Australian Press.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Will the LDP please choose another leader before this buffoon gets us into a really nasty situation?

Well if there is no real chance of war with China as you have been saying the entire time.....

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Only problem with nationalizing these rocks/islands...mother nature doesn't care.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Some people close to the Abe government owns some of these islands and I suppose Abe will buy them for 20 to 30 times the original value, benefit some firends and make them richer at tax payers expense.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Oh no... So Japan side said that there is some islands without name and ownership? I think better to do it internally without make everything public.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It just means they are going to re-check who has ownership of the dinky islands. If you have 100 islands and 2 of them in-between happens to not have any clear documents on ownership, I doubt it would be classified as internationally unclaimed. As far as I know there are no unclaimed islands left on Planet Earth (although some are not allowed to be claimed by anyone). Thus, they are Japanese Islands with missing or inconclusive paperwork like you would have in the middle of Tokyo.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Best to name the un named islands with the heroes around Asia that were killed by the imperial army as a mark of respect and contrition. Better still find the names of the people massacred in Nanjing and name the islands after them!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

We will defend Japan from aggression from ANY country.

Since you aren't here it's easy for you to say. But watch out how you say things, Japan hasn't "defended" itself from aggression from the US now has it?

Oh and the only reason you can speak, from your far, far, away from here voice.....IS because it's the US that is backing Japan up.

Take the US out of the equation and no one will hear you.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Currency wars,Island wars..what next?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Good i am fully in support of this wise move. About time.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Just do it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yep in a symbolic way I think Abe just called Chinas hand. Of course it is legit to try to avoid confusion by making borders as clear as possible. If the circumstances were normal it would be a good thing. But at present it could be a bit provocative. Well as some said before theres an upcoming election...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

CH3CHO: It's funny you come to an English news site and call everyone who reads the news in English 'lemmings', then believe if the Japanese government says something is Japanese, it IS! Worse yet you seem to think the Japanese government claiming something belongs to it means it is some sort of universal truth that will 'mend fences and avoid tensions'.

YuriOtani: "We will defend Japan from aggression from ANY country."

Says the woman hiding in the US while friends and family hide behind them in Okinawa. As Yubaru said, take the US out of the equation and you'd be singing a different tune. Japan hasn't, and can't defend itself without them, plain and simple.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan under Abe in the generic words of Albert Einstein: "He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice."

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

@CH3CO

http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/politics/news/20130714-OYT1T00878.htm?from=ylist

Thanks for the link; the reference is something almost always missing in Japan Today articles. Judging from the Yomiuri map, it appears there are no NEW disputes involved.

Something else I noticed about the EEZ lines drawn near the existing disputes: the EEZ lines appear to drawn closer to the disputed territories than the median line. Does this indicate an unspoken sentiment for compromise? By whom and what criterion are these lines decided? If it is a compomise, what does a unilateral compromise achieve? Is it binding to future generations of Japanese?

Just curious.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Does nationalizing these so-called unclaimed islands give Japan any sovereignty rights over them? If it doesn't, I don't see the point. That's like naming a stray dog that doesn't belong to me.

If these islands also fall within Japan's territory, not EEZ, then why haven't Japan claim them already?

If these islands do not fall within Japan territory yet it wants to claim them, can I go claim any rock that I find that's unclaimed and nationalize it as property of highball7?

Its the 21st century, I'm really surprised that Japan still have unclaimed islands around it. Unless they recently "grew" out from the sea from volcanic activities. You don't see many of those.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

smithinjapan, have you read the original article in Japanese and compared the two? If not, you really do not have the right to complain.

Japan hasn't, and can't defend itself without them, plain and simple.

Let's name the countries that cannot defend by itself. UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India,,,. The list goes on and on. Can China defend itself if rest of the world attacks it at the same time? Can the US? The theory goes that peace is maintained only when no country can defend by itself.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Does nationalizing these so-called unclaimed islands give Japan any sovereignty rights over them? If it doesn't, I don't see the point. That's like naming a stray dog that doesn't belong to me.

No, that's just tidying up the documents.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hey if they're in Japanese territorial waters why not?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The double standards expressed on this forum are laughable.

It's ok for China to militarize and threaten all of their neighbors, but its not ok for Japan to take measures to check China's moves?

It's called balance of power. Most countries engage in this strategy in the interest of self-preservation. In fact, Japan is not the only country interested and making strategic moves to balance China. Do some research. China is becoming isolated quickly. It's economy is slowing down and foreign investors are jumping ship and moving operations to China's competitors, i.e. India and the Philippines. Chinese aggression in pursuing maritime claims is creating some blowback.

There is no logic around here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

highball7Jul. 16, 2013 - 05:41PM JST

Does nationalizing these so-called unclaimed islands give Japan any sovereignty rights over them? If it doesn't, I don't see the point. That's like naming a stray dog that doesn't belong to me.

If these islands also fall within Japan's territory, not EEZ, then why haven't Japan claim them already?

You and others seem to so misunderstand, does not the story make things clear? These islands are all in Japanese territorial waters, so they are Japanese territory and of course Japan has sovereignty over them, they are not any kind of "disputed" territory. The issue is to determine if they are privately owned, and if they are not they will nationalized, that is be claimed by the government. It is necessary to do something like this because of Chinese aggression. China might just decide to say they are "inherent sacred Chinese territory," especially if there are some resources near them.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“Japan may nationalise any unclaimed remote islands in its waters in a bid to bolster its territorial claims,” shows something fishy is going on, especially a year after “Tokyo nationalised three islands in the chain in what it said was a mere administrative change of ownership” that pissed off China. Nationalisation leads to the same result which is to bolster its territorial claims. And, what about “in an effort to verify the extent of the nation’s exclusive economic zone,” even rocks can have EEZ if Japan says so. Now, who is provoking who?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan better hurry. China continue to bully as long as Japan doesn't take ownership of those island. Hurry and work out the consequences later.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The question is not whether there is friction, the question is whether Japan is handling the right way. If you look from the importance of Japan-China relationship, Japan should've left it alone. This will make the relations between the two countries even more difficult. The friction between Japan and China over everything will increase in the coming years since they are biggest trade partners. Japanese politicians are continuing to make elementary mistakes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Strange logic.....

Because Japan and China trading partners frictions will increase? Say huh? Trade and economics would be the only things REDUCING friction. Japan pulling its investments and factories out China--a process that is already underway--is likely to increase friction. China's economy is starting to feel the heat. Trade is dropping, factory output is dropping, corruption is finally starting to have an effect.

If you suggest Japan is handling it in the wrong way, what do you suggest? Elementary is criticizing without providing viable alternatives.

Japan is on a mission to contain Chinese expansion. They are making moves to that end. And, again, Japan is not the only country making such moves.

Countries are fed up with Chinese behavior so they are creating alliances and partnerships to balance them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

BigPoopinJul. 17, 2013 - 06:14AM JST Japan pulling its investments and factories out China--a process that is already underway--is likely to increase friction.If you suggest Japan is handling it in the wrong way, what do you suggest? Elementary is criticizing without providing viable alternatives. Japan is on a mission to contain Chinese expansion. They are making moves to that end. And, again, Japan is not the only country making such moves.

This year 168 Japanese goverment representatives vistited Yasukuni, and last year, Abe visted the shrine to pray for the 14 class A and 2 million soldiers from WWII, and most of these Japanese imperial soldiers were involved in the massacure of millions of Chinese civilians. Do you see any Chancellor or 168 German goverment representives praying in Nazi shrine?

An economic war between China and Japan could have serious consequences, as total trade between the two annually equals $345 billion. China’s second-biggest trading partner is Japan represents only 9% of China’s overall trade, so even if Japan pulls out, other countries will fill in. However, China is Japan’s largest trading partner, and by a lot. China accounted for 21% of Japan’s exports and imports. Do you think Japan has choice to pull factories out of China?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

BigPoopin, “China's economy is starting to feel the heat. Trade is dropping, factory output is dropping, corruption is finally starting to have an effect.” Anything new here? Nothing new, the western media had predicted these happening a couple of decades ago. It’s in fact a miracle to run an economy at the double digits growth for this long. China had planned for a soft landing many years ago. It is now switching to domestic consumption base to sustain growth. You may be right though considering the illogical behaviours towards China that “Japan is on a mission to contain” China but not because of ”Chinese expansion.” It’s purely based on political gains without regards to the consequences. Now, which “countries are fed up with Chinese behaviour so they are creating alliances”? Are you talking about Vietnam and Philippines? If you read the news, Vietnam is now shaking hands with China. As for Philippines, if they are not getting those free patrol ships and financial aids from Japan, certainly there won’t be any alliance. All other neighbouring countries have been friendlier with China.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Nothing is better than a good old fear of China and Korea (n&s) to win elections in Japan, and those news always popup during election time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Nice move!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

beginning of Japanese imperialism again. Will no doubt anger Korea and China

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

So, if Japan does it, it's something that should have been done long ago (and in secret!^^), but if China or Korea does it it's "madness"? Thanks for clarifying the Japanese mindset. If it were anyone else but Japan, it would be called "outrageouss".

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Yubaru there is an invention called the aeroplane. I travel back and forth between Japan and the USA. I am still in the reserves and if there is war will be in it. It is strange is is bad to honor Japans war dead because they killed millions but the American forces killed millions as well. However because of "truth, justice and the American way" it is alright to nuke people. People worship the killer of hundreds of thousands of people. The biggest mass murderer in history is worshiped by Americans. Back to the islands these are within Japans EEZ and belong to Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

OssanAmericaJul. 16, 2013 - 07:42AM JST [Should have been done a couple years ago and without disclosing it.]

Under Democratic Hatoyama? I remember he seemed to have said something like he understood why China wants Senkaku for its own.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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