national

Japan on high alert for disputed islands anniversary

38 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

Japan's coast guard said it was "on high alert" Wednesday, a year to the day since Tokyo nationalised islands that China says it has owned for centuries.

Often-testy ties have soured dramatically over the last 12 months, with frequent confrontations between official ships from Asia's two largest powers.

On Tuesday, Tokyo said it had not ruled out stationing officials there, provoking an ominous warning from Beijing that Japan "must be prepared to bear the consequences of this provocation".

"We are on high alert as today marks the first anniversary of the nationalization of the Senkaku islands," coast guard official Yuma Miyako told AFP, referring to the Tokyo-controlled islands claimed by China as the Diaoyus.

Since last September, official Chinese vessels have regularly traversed the waters -- China said Tuesday it had carried out 59 such "patrols" -- each time being warned off by Japanese ships, and the two nations' militaries have shadow-boxed in international waters and international skies.

Tokyo says it nationalized the islands as a way to take the sting out of a potentially explosive attempt to buy them by nationalists, who talked of developing them for tourism.

It was somewhat wrong-footed by the vehemence of Beijing's response, which saw violent protests erupt across China and diplomatic ties frozen, badly affecting a huge trade relationship on which both countries depend.

A change of government in Tokyo that made hawkish nationalist Shinzo Abe prime minister did little to soothe matters.

Xinhua on Tuesday accused him of turning a blind eye to the nation's "beautifying of atrocious wartime crime", the latest in a long line of tongue-lashings Chinese state media has delivered.

Eight Chinese ships spent several hours in the islands' territorial waters on Tuesday and four remained in the contiguous zone on Wednesday, Japanese officials said.

Contiguous waters are maritime areas adjacent to territorial sea where a coastal state has certain limited rights.

"We are preventing Chinese official ships from entering our territorial waters, with our ships sailing very close to the Chinese ships," coast guard official Miyako said.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a nation can evict foreign military ships that enter its territorial waters. However, Miyako said, the rules regarding official ships, such as coast guards, are unclear.

"Therefore we are working in line with the Japanese government's policy of demanding they stay out of our territory," he said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga on Wednesday repeated Tokyo's mantra that the islands "are an integral part of Japanese territory", but stressed Japan cherishes ties with China as "one of its most important bilateral relationships" and was keeping the "door open" for dialogue.

Analysts say the row is unlikely to fade given China's rising power and an uncompromising approach from both sides.

"I suspect the dispute won't ever be resolved as long as they keep their current positions," said Yoshinobu Yamamoto, professor of international politics at the University of Niigata.

"It is wise and practical for the two countries to put it aside and shift their focus to other areas such as economic and regional issues," Yamamoto said.

On Tuesday, Suga said the government was "considering it as an option", when asked if Japan would station officials on the islands, but did not elaborate.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Beijing was "gravely concerned" by the remarks.

"China's resolve to defend the sovereignty of the Diaoyu islands is firm, and we will not tolerate the Japanese side taking action to infringe China's sovereignty," he said.

"The Japanese side must be prepared to bear the consequences of this provocation."

Japan annexed what it says were unclaimed islands in 1895. It says China's assertion of ownership only came after the discovery of resources in the seabed at the close of the 1960s.

Beijing maintains that the islands have been its territory for hundreds of years and were illegally snatched by Tokyo at the start of an acquisitive romp across Asia that culminated in World War II.

Analysts have warned the presence of so many vessels and airplanes increases the likelihood that a slip by one side could lead to a military confrontation, with serious regional, and possibly global, ramifications.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

38 Comments
Login to comment

On Tuesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government was “considering it as an option”, when asked if Japan would station officials on the islands, but did not elaborate.

Don't worry about it! the US won't allow it as an option!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Waiting to see which side's going to fire the first shot. I'm betting the Commies will.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

I think Japan should put a detachment of crack JSDF soldiers (ninjas) on the islands and dare China to coma and have a go if it thinks its hard enough.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

@Wakarimasen: Only problem with that, is that the Chinese have those Shaolin Monks, trained in the deadly art of Monkey, Snake, and Tiger style Kung fu. I wonder which side would take the day???

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I hope China does not fall for the righ wing provocation of Abe, if they fire first the western media will further brain wash their citizens into thinking they are bullies and blah blah blah western popuganda. I think ties between Asian neighbours are the single most important agenda for Japan.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

Hmmmm.. Shaolin Monks, eh? Hadn't thought of them. OK, how about a few hapless looking "fishemen", bit like 007 in You Only Live Twice, to lure those monks into a false sense of security.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan should just do it, and we will all be singing "Nuclear Winter Blues"

Or is Japan NATO only.

No one own anything at the end, all are own by mother earth, we are just temporary tenants.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Shaolin Monks

Incessent Shaolin monku.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

the Chinese have those Shaolin Monks, trained in the deadly art of Monkey, Snake, and Tiger style Kung fu

The Shaolin Monks and their temples were attacked by the Red Guards during the cultural revolution, so I imagine they would just go off and meditate on the impermanence of things.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Back on topic please.

OK so Japan is going to activate their J-ALERT system in Okinawa or plan any special SAMBA show in Asakusa?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

OK so Japan is going to activate their J-ALERT system in Okinawa or plan any special SAMBA show in Asakusa?

the latter one, me guess :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

China is a country that perpetrates the violation of international laws. They should know better than to quibble all the time.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

What do you expect Suga to say? There are no options or choice? Heck, killing yourself or unconditional surrender is also an option but is that an realistic or viable option?

That's like asking China on whether stationing personnel on the islands is an option. Of course its an option. Everything is an option.

I just hate it when people are playing on words and try to instigate and embellish an already tense subject. No one is stupid enough to put lives on the table and roll the dice on it. Japan has administered the islands for years, why do you think they never built an outpost there?

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Oh that land/sea grabber again! Stir up the tension with all neighbours. China needs someone teach it a lesson how to behave like an adult and not to lie all the time.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Designate the entire area as a live-fire bombing test range.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

yeah, you kick their ass! viva japan!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

China and the dead horse again.. whack whack .... I think Japan should just ignore the Chinese but keep them out of the waters near the islands. If Japan doesn't comment then there is no fuel for the communist machine.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

@CrazyJoe "China is a country that perpetrates the violation of international laws. They should know better than to quibble all the time"

intersting point, perhaps Japan should boycott all chinese restaurants in Japan, forcing them to go out of business.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If any of you actually pay attention to this article or the news conference, it was Suga that actually uttered those words. Not the Chinese. The Chinese didn't say they will put personnel on these disputed islands.

So knowing there is a dispute, and knowing how your opponent/enemy might react to every word that you utter, then it is entirely Japan's responsibility to keep it cool. Japan only has administrative rights, it cannot buy the islands when you don't actually own them. Administrative rights are not ownership rights or sovereignty rights. The ownership of the islands cannot be bought or sold. Only the control or administering rights of the islands can be bought or sold. MAJOR DIFFERENCE HERE.

I don't know why Japanese keep on saying you own these islands. You don't. Not legally, realistically or factually. You were assigned the administrative rights. That CAN be retracted by the assignor.

That's the reason that gave rise to this conflict which resulted in Chinese civilian ships patrolling these disputed islands. They are doing that almost every single day. Which they are supposed to if they believe that they are the legitimate owners. There is nothing Japan can do but protest. That's what the Chinese had been doing... protesting for decades. Its not that China didn't care, or Taiwan didn't care, they were too poor or too weak to take action. It doesn't mean they never protested. In fact if you pay attention to their English articles, they have been protesting since the 70s. Which means Japan can't even adversely possess these islands which the likes of Ishihara had been advocating.

Take this down carefully... JAPAN DOES NOT HAVE ANY SOVEREIGNTY OR OWNERSHIP OVER DIAOYU/SENKAKU ISLANDS. These islands CANNOT just be gifts to Japan. Japan as an aggressor and LOSER in the war CANNOT unjustly enriched by receiving administrative rights of these islands when they were clearly being disputed. Two wrongs doesn't make a right!

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

I wouldn't recommend boycotting the Chinese restaurants here in Japan. Some of my best friends were Chinese when I attended school at 85 Yamate in Yokohama back in the late fifties. I have nothing against the people of China.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

China won't attack these islands. The government may incite anti-Japanese riots and cost Japanese industry another fortune, but they won't risk getting their arses kicked for at least another 10 years.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Now is the time to build a structure and put personnel on the islands. Japan "nationalized" 3 of the islands to prevent Ishihara from doing that, in order to appease China. And look where that got them. China used that action as an excuse to go all out in their plan to take over the Senkakus. So Japan as nothing to lose at this point. Japan has every right to do what it wants on territory it administers, And if China wants to start a war over it rest assured not one country on earth will support it. Is China ready to start a war with the whole world? I don't think so.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

highball7Sep. 11, 2013 - 05:34PM JST

Japan only has administrative rights, it cannot buy the islands when you don't actually own them. Administrative rights are not ownership rights or sovereignty rights. The ownership of the islands cannot be bought or sold. Only the control or administering rights of the islands can be bought or sold. MAJOR DIFFERENCE HERE.

Have you read San Francisco Peace Treaty? It is a good read. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Treaty_of_San_Francisco

Article 2 lists islands Japan gave up. Senkakus are not included in the give up list.

But Article 3 is more relevant to your point.

Article 3 Japan will concur in any proposal of the United States to the United Nations to place under its trusteeship system, with the United States as the sole administering authority, Nansei Shoto south of 29 degree north latitude (including the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands), Nanpo Shoto south of Sofu Gan (including the Bonin Islands, Rosario Island and the Volcano Islands) and Parece Vela and Marcus Island. Pending the making of such a proposal and affirmative action thereon, the United States will have the right to exercise all and any powers of administration, legislation and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants of these islands, including their territorial waters.

Senkakus are included is Ryukyu Islands. Japan retained its sovereignty of Ryukyu islands but put the administrative rights of the islands under US trusteeship. The administrative rights were later returned to Japan in 1972. You only look at the return of Okinawa in 1972 to say that Japan only has administrative rights. Well, the sovereignty remained with Japan all the time. How could Japan have put Senkakus under US trusteeship if it had not had sovereignty of the islands?

6 ( +8 / -2 )

in the islands' territorial waters

Shouldn't that read "in Japan's territorial waters" ?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

So Highball7, if you are the legal owner of something and you sell it to someone else, that person is not the legal owner? Please look at your logic. Japan bought it from the legal owner and the transaction was legal even though China did not like that. By this logic, if I want something and you sell it to another, I can claim it because it should belong to me, I want it. No reason for a high alert, China will do nothing and at best try to make a show of muscle which they do not have. China is cunning and is accomplishing what they want, get the Japanese feathers ruffled.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

If you read unbiased history you will learn that these islands belong to China, regardless of your love for Japan. China's sphere of influence went as far as Philippines and Indonesia. The Western powers had their minds sets to bring China to ruin not only by forcing it to onerous trade treaties, but by also forcing Japan to become a militaristic regime, which in the end proved to be a mighty aggressor. Japan is better off returning what does not belong to it, and rescuing its own no man's land, (Fukushima), which can yield better output than what it can get out of the Diaoyu Islands. Just because you held something that does not belong to you for a while does not mean it will belong to you later on.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

If you read unbiased history you will learn that these islands belong to China, regardless of your love for Japan

If you read ubiased history of China you'll realise that more than 50% of it's teritory isn't Chinese.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

it seems china's communist party has instructed its faithful dogs to bring their sick nationalistic propaganda and votes here to this forum. how can someone be so sick to put in the same note senkaku & ancient history & fukushima? such doctrine is pure chinese communism.

But first off, let's set things straight: the whole earth belongs to the dinosaurs, including the senkakus.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Ok so it seems that the reason that the Chinese are upset is because Japan has been using China’s own history records against them. Taiwan also published textbooks and maps that show the islands under Japanese control. This goes back to 1895. Highball7 and Avigator both need to take a step back and consider what they are saying. Highball7 you are right the loser in a war doesn't get to complain and unjustly enriched by receiving administrative rights of these islands. Japan clearly claimed them after the First Sino-Japanese War. They remained part of Japan in China's eyes until the 1971 handover of territories. Again I will say that there is no way that China has rights to those islands. You are trying to ride a dead horse... get off it.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Thanks a lot, Ishihara.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Getting really tired of all these Chinese provcations. You cannot reason and talk to a bully, you cannot appease a bully, eg Nazi Germany and UK PM Neville Chamberlain. Time to kick some ass. A Bully only understands force. Once down China "may" see the light. Maybe, probably not.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

CH3, neither is Paris or London on that list. That point is moot if the islands were never a consideration because the US neglected to include or exclude them. Its not up to Japan to state whether they own the islands, its up to whether the international community recognize the ownership of those islands. US didn't recognize in 1972 or ever. Case closed. Japan DOES NOT have ownership, it only has administrative rights.

You can list or claim and post any link or doc. It won't matter. Fact is fact.

And to others, since Japan is NOT a legal owner, buying and selling has no merits based on ownership. Buying and selling the rights to administer however does. But that's not the case here. I don't have a problem if Japan is buying the right to administer. That's perfectly legal. The problem is purchasing ownership.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Doooohh... More political BS please.. As if these rocks in the sea worth it.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Wars kill people, lots and lots of people. The course that China has set for establishing its sovereignty over the Senkakus is fraught with danger for China and the world.

China could best have served its purpose by having ONE Chinese soldier invade the Senkakus and establish the PRC's flag on the soil. When the Japanese Self-Defense Force would arrive to remove that soldier, that soldier would hold a gun to his head and kill himself rather than give up sovereignty to the Japanese. Later, another Chinese soldier would occupy the islands and place a flag on the island. When the Japanese would arrive, he would hold a gun to his head. If anyone made a move to remove the flag, he would shoot himself in the head. When the Chinese then put another soldier on one of the islands with another PRC flag, the world would be watching, just as we watch the Tibetans who immolate themselves. If the Japanese approach the Chinese soldier or attempt to remove the flag, he shoots himself. The world doesn't want to see that. What more can be said for establishing sovereignty than a continual war that only suffers a dozen casualties, all of them KAMIKAZE

Di

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

I saw some pictures of those Chinese "ships" on line - they are tiny, old and very slow. Looks like the Chinese haven't done their homework again.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The Olympic is good for Japan's economy, but bad for the the dispute islets.

The only action that China maybe take is sending more ships and planes there, and let more people in the world that focus on the Olympic focus on the confliction of the dispute islets.

To say these islets are belong to Japan base on legislation and histroy is lying.

the only legislation basis is the treaty that made by the USA which was without China's attendence.

the only history basis is from 1905, which begain from a war that taken the islets from protection of China.

China is just like that the whole other world to notice and discuss on this.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The PRC will have their programed rallies with the usual faces making sure all the drones tout the party line.

Rah rah rah, goooooo team and those that don't do it just right will face the squad.....

But really there is nothing to worry about right now with the PRC. Xi, is in the process of doing his own form of a "Mao purge" and the military needs all it's manpower for the executions and re-education that will follow.

Love Document Number 9, it's the new "Little Red Book" that all party members will be forced to recite day in and day out......LOL

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites