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Australians reject siding with Japan against China in island dispute: survey

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After all those years of Japanese tourists visiting Oz and spending billions of yen? Can it be that the Australians are such fair weather friends or merely being practical)

-9 ( +17 / -24 )

After all those years of Japanese tourists visiting Oz and spending billions of yen? Can it be that the Australians are such fair weather friends or merely being practical)

Nonsense. First of all, I guarantee you Japanese car and electronics companies have made a lot more profit in Australia than Japanese tourists have spent there. But that is a red-herring anyway. What this survey says to me is that the conflict between Japan and China is so remote to Australia, both in terms of distance, as well as potential impact, that they just don't want to get involved. Why should Australia spend money, and potentially lives, for one side or the other, when it is not really clear who is right anyway? To me, this is a clear sign to Japan that they need to try to resolve this conflict diplomatically if possible, because even their friends are not at all interested in it.

15 ( +27 / -13 )

As expected of Aussie mentality. No surprise to see most Australians bypass Japan to favor China, if it brings Australia greater benefits. In playing a role as logistic broker between Japan & China, Australia would pull both strings to own's benefits. Japan should not put all eggs in one basket.

-15 ( +14 / -27 )

There is absolutely no surprise. No country on the earth would be willing to back up Japan to fight for few remote rocks in the mid of nowhere; not Australians and not Americans either.

It’s better for Japan to get a clear picture now than later to make a fool itself.

Japan's concept of defense treaty is a msguided self-serving, to put it in a blunt way.

9 ( +25 / -18 )

Most ordinary Australians see this dispute as two bald men fighting over a comb.

One country was an undemocratic authoritarian state when they seized the uninhabited islands from another undemocratic authoritarian state who was succeeded by an even more authoritarian regime... you'll have to forgive Australians for not being passionate about taking sides or seeking justice here.

(Also, the percentage of ethnic Chinese in Australia is exactly 4%, so that probably accounts for those who think Australia should side with China)

16 ( +23 / -8 )

Ethan

The US is obliged to back up Japan under agreements made previously, even for a few remote rocks that are supposedly above large oil and gas reserves.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

I applaud Australia for standing up to japan although being neutral is a weak position. It's really high time people realized that the only way to ensure a future for the next 50, 100 years is to be faithful allies with China. japan's as well as America's future isn't looking bright at all.

-28 ( +5 / -32 )

'But a poll commissioned by the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology, Sydney, suggested that 71% of Australians would prefer to remain neutral should a conflict arise.'

Sounds like common sense to me. Why should Australia get involved in a nasty little squabble about islands the vast majority of Aussies haven't even heard of and couldn't give a crap about?

13 ( +17 / -4 )

@serendipitous, yeah right, on the paper, it is. but on the execution, there is many ways to back it off. FYI, Americans are sick and tired to put American servicemen's lives in jeopardy.

In case you don't know: Iraq and Afghan wars has cost America 1.6 trillion, and still counting. Enough is enough.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

As expected of Aussie mentality. No surprise to see most Australians bypass Japan to favor China

Favouring China? Please read the story. Just 4 percent of Australians surveyed stated that they would back China in the (very unlikely) event of conflict. The great majority of Australians wish to continue having good relations with both nations. I cant imagine the citizens of ANY nation would want to become embroiled in such a ridiculous conflict.

17 ( +18 / -2 )

Its too bad this poll did not also ask what Australians thought was the truth of the issue.

But I cannot blame them for wanting to dissuade Japan from thinking they will have Australia as an ally over tiny insignificant disputed islands.

not Australians and not Americans either.

That is why the American government will window dress any conflict that breaks out. They will mention Tibet and Tianamen Square, perhaps even accuse China of having WMD and say it needs regime change. Perhaps they will even claim the Pentagon was cyberattacked by North Korea and they must have had Chinese assistance. Americans really don't need too much proof or prodding to go to war. I am glad to see that Australians at least have the sense to not be so infatuated with war that they would rush in to help a buddy doing something stupid.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Australia would be stupid to join in an armed conflict over nothing. Maybe Aussies would be more sympathetic to Japanese claims to remote islands if Japan had paid more attention to Australia's concerns over whaling in the Southern Ocean.

8 ( +20 / -11 )

Disgraceful that Australia can't see which side is the democracy and which is the non-democracy in this dispute. This reflects poorly on how much Australia supports its allies, that is all. The US will be there to stop Mongol invasion.

-9 ( +9 / -18 )

Maybe Australians should notice which country is buying up their farmland. It might make them feel more involved. China is pushing at all borders either physically or financially, and other countries should pay attention to this. China is feeling very expansive at the moment.

In any case, as Serendipitous says, the US will step in if China makes a move on the islands, and has repeatedly said they are covered under the treaty with Japan. The US leases two islands for a bombing range, and there is no way they will let China have control over the islands, since then they would also control the sea around it, and have a strategic advantage with their ships.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I applaud Australia for standing up to japan although being neutral is a weak position. It's really high time people realized that the only way to ensure a future for the next 50, 100 years is to be faithful allies with China. japan's as well as America's future isn't looking bright at all."

No thanks. Your idea of "faithful allies with China" seems to be unquestioningly following China's orders. We're sick of cavorting over the world and getting dragged into foreign wars just because someone else asked (usually the US) so why should we get our people killed because China asked us to? We don't want to get involved with a war that really has little to do with us. Your idea of "ensuring a future" seems to insinuate that we should send our young servicemen to get involved in China's "wars of patriotism" etc (and that ugly SCS territorial dispute) and die needlessly.

We do not want to kill ourselves in a conflict where the interest to the Australian public is zero. Australian lives are not for the Chinese, nor any other country to literally p!#s away at their own whims. Just because we choose not to side with Japan in this conflict does it mean that we automatically "will" side with China either.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Money talks, and China has made Australians very prosperous of late.

Describing the Australia-China Relations Institute as an independent research think tank (on this issue at least) shows a fertile imagination.

While I do applaud this being debated in public in the region, let's remember that we don't know the methodology of this poll of "over 1,000" Australians.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

scipantheist,

The US will be there to stop Mongol invasion.

I wouldn't worry too much about Mongol invasion. In the 13th Century, it might have been a concern, but not now.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

@ Bgood41

As expected of Aussie mentality. No surprise to see most Australians bypass Japan to favor China, if it brings Australia greater benefits. In playing a role as logistic broker between Japan & China, Australia would pull both strings to own's benefits.

Did you even bother reading the article? I doubt very much you'd have the remotest idea what the Aussie mentality is anyway. As far as trade goes, both Japan and China are vitally and equally important to Australia. Politically, if push ever came to shove, Australia would of course favour Japan. That doesn't mean we'd involve ourselves in a (very hypothetical) military conflict, particularly in a spat between nationalists over a few rocks.

Japan should not put all eggs in one basket.

No, nor should any country. The problem with Japan is, having isolated itself politically, it doesn't have all that many options.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

@BertieWooster No one can say what happened to the Yuan dynasty DNA. I'm thinking it is still highly prevalent in the CCP.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Here is a comment from an Australian who knows a little more about this survey.

(i) The poll was conducted by the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS). The name of the body would rather suggest a less than neutral view of affairs.

(ii) We don't know the content of the question and more importantly the targeted sample because they can skew the results. However I can tell you that the UTS has a very high Chinese student population in terms of student population mix, if not the highest in terms of country of origin. If the poll was conducted within the University campus I would not be surprised by the results.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

A public poll doesn't necessarily translate into what the Australian government thinks.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@ scipantheist

Disgraceful that Australia can't see which side is the democracy and which is the non-democracy in this dispute.

What's democracy got to do with a territorial dispute?

This reflects poorly on how much Australia supports its allies, that is all.

Japan is not (yet) Australia's ally.

The US will be there to stop Mongol invasion.

If you mean China, the US is obliged to help under treaty, whether it wants to or not.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

They don't have to be involved, in fact no one else should. If a country benefits in a business relationship where is it said that they have to defend the historical lingering issues of another country specially when one its know to have had a history of barbaric attacks against its neighbors

1 ( +3 / -2 )

-5 Bgood41JAN. 07, 2015 - 07:52AM JST As expected of Aussie mentality. No surprise to see most Australians bypass Japan to favor China, if it brings Australia greater benefits. In playing a role as logistic broker between Japan & China, Australia would pull both strings to own's benefits. Japan should not put all eggs in one basket.

Rubbish. Most Australians will no little of this conflict, it's history, it's intricacies. Many of the people they polled would not have even heard of the Senkakus I'm betting, so it's prudent to remain neutral. It's not Australia's business.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@bgood41 Majority = greater than 50%. When the results of the survey say that 15% back Japan over the 4% backing China, 9% completely unsure of what should happen and the rest (71%) say we should stay out of the issue entirely. Also I think you got a little confused with the numbers there. Aus+Japan = 15% and Aus+China = 4% ... 15%>4% therefore LESS back China than those that back Japan and yet you're saying Australia would back China over Japan? Go re-learn your maths.

That said, the article/survey seems to have skipped 1% of the population surveyed when announcing figures. 15+4+9+71 = 99 ... where's that last 1% sit? Same again happens in the second set of percentages, 68+14+17 = 99. Someone seems to have arbitrarily identified 1% of the responses as invalid and thus not included them in the results for announcement.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Soooo, the poll was made by the Australia - China Relations Institute... that means that they very well be tempted to do the poll with a high participation of Australian-Chinese people isn't it?

The same sort of biased poll result you may get if some Australia - Japan Relation Institute did the research, only in this case favoring Japan....

So... my doubts are in this poll result.. May be if the poll was done by the Australian International Relations Institute....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Money talks, Japan walks.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Economic interest dictates Oz doesn't want to annoy China. Plus there goes the sub deal.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

They know better that the whole thing is a big lie from Japan's perspective.Read Martin Lochmeyer's thesis at: http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092/4085/1/thesis_fulltext.pdf

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Why is everybody focussing on Australia's reaction? The fact is, Japan and China have been squabbling over these specs of rock for centuries. The Australian government is fully aware of this. Japan is just trying to get as much 'big brother' support as they can.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

there goes the sub deal

4 percent of repondents to a private survey (40 citizens) who stated they would support China over this issue - and a multi-billion dollar sale that Japan is bending over backwards for is now off? Please continue the comedy show, kaerimashita!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Daniel Neagari

Soooo, the poll was made by the Australia - China Relations Institute... that means that they very well be tempted to do the poll with a high participation of Australian-Chinese people isn't it?

With this in mind only 4% siding with China vs 15% siding with Japan means this Aus-China relations is off to a great start? So if they did chose a higher percentage of people of Chinese decent, surely this would then say that Australia really doesn't like the way China is pushing and that this Higher % of Chinese people actually support Japan more on this issue? Sounds like a "Survey" trying to make China appear as the favourite side kind of back-fired.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@ Joeintokyo

Money talks, Japan walks.

What does that even mean? Anyway, Japan can't afford to walk.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Australia’s economy is so dependent on the Chinese, so they should tread the water very carefully. But when it comes to the crunch you know which side they will be on. Let’s not forget there is a small number of US soldiers now based in Darwin. Try explaining this.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Bgood41/Daniel Neagari: "As expected of Aussie mentality. No surprise to see most Australians bypass Japan to favor China" / "The same sort of biased poll result you may get if some Australia - Japan Relation Institute did the research, only in this case favoring Japan...."

Do you guys even bother to read the articles, or is this just the usual insecurity so many people in Japan have that not automatically agreeing with Japan means some sort of insult and something to bemoan and cry victim about? The article said 15% would side with Japan vs. 9% siding with China, while aside from a small percent of 'undecided' the rest clearly stated a desire to remain NEUTRAL! In what world is that bias against Japan?? given that you yourself (Daniel) point out the survey was conducted by the Australia - China Relations Institute? How is MORE people wanting to side with Japan 'bypassing Japan in favor of China'?

Give your heads a shake then actually read the article. No nation would be stupid enough to go to war, let alone WANT to go to war, over a few rocks that old men in office stand at the back of the room yelling about.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Bgood41 read the story, 4% supported China, 15% supported Japan/US , 71% neutral. cant see how that shows Australian favours China over Japan, especially since the islands are already under Japanese control.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Disillusioned, China have been squabbling over these specs of rock for decades, not centuries.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

even the UK/Argentina managed to keep there fight over some islands in house, why the need to drag everybody else into a potential conflict that would only produce gain for China or Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Obviously Aussies wouldn't want to take a side in a disastrous conflict like this, although I'm 100% sure Australia would be compelled to provide significant assistance to the US if something like this occurred.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@wtfjapan: why the need to drag everybody else into a potential conflict that would only produce gain for China or Japan.

Note: The poll was conducted by the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology in Sydney (UTS) and had nothing to do with any Japanese organization.

@disillusioned: Why is everybody focussing on Australia's reaction? The fact is, Japan and China have been squabbling over these specs of rock for centuries. The Australian government is fully aware of this. Japan is just trying to get as much 'big brother' support as they can.

Japan and China have been arguing over the islands for decades, not centuries. Yet, can't see how this poll conducted by an Aussie organization (Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology in Sydney) leads you to thinking that Japan is just trying to get their "big brother" support.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Australians reject siding with Japan I island conflict ". - as would the thinking citizens of any other country. Why should they get involved in a potential conflict created by a few oyajis such as Ishihara his Chinese counterparts for their own political purposes? I bet if the same survey is done in any other country that is " Japan,s ally "the results will be the same. As someone said above, this overblown issue needs to be settled by non military means.

@kurisupisu - " after all the billions of yen that Japanese tourists spent in Aus".. Completely unrelated...take a walk around Ginza these days how much Chinese are spending there. Tourism has nothing to do with this and Australia certainly need not feel obligated. How much did J corporations benefit from Australian natural sources for their production lines? Same line of thinking.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I'm 100% sure Australia would be compelled to provide significant assistance to the US if something like this occurred

Diplomatically Aussie stand for Japan. Not militarily. US will demand from Aussie to assist for every single conflict in every part of the world. However this one is not their national interest. China is their bread and butter. US is not.

Back in 1965, Indonesia bullied Malaysia with deliberate attack. When Aussie requested US for help, US showed cold shoulder to Aussie with polite words as that conflict was not covered with ANZUS treaty.

Due to Indonesia's troop build-up in Borneo, Australia and New Zealand agreed to begin deploying combat forces to Borneo in 1965 without any assistance from US.

If there will be the conflict between Japan and PRC, Aussie and NZ are fair enough to ignore US request as payback time.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The headline sounds like it is trying to stir up emotions among readers while the poll should really be (and is probably) a non-issue for both China and Japan. Those who prefer to be neutral are simply being clever. It does not take a scientist to know that as long as such a dispute does not encrouch on the country's national interests there is no need to get involved.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Here is a link to the poll data: http://www.uts.edu.au/sites/default/files/ACRI%20Poll.pdf

It was not easy to find, half of one entry right at the bottom of the institute's news webpage (the other half was the press release, which was basically the text of the article above.

Question 6, about if people thought Australia-China trade would suffer, may be telling but with China being Australia's No 1 trading partner this question is a bit predictable.

There is a pretty thorough synthesis of data regarding people in the sample, including people over 70, so I think that the results are a bit legit, not just a poll inside the uni.

For any Australians, looking at data per people's political leanings is interesting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As far as trade goes, both Japan and China are vitally and equally important to Australia.

Australia exports twice as much, by value, to China as to Japan. Ditto for imports and total trade.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/here-are-australias-top-10-two-way-trading-partners-2014-8#Japan

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It sounds like some people actually expected Australians to seriously consider getting into an armed conflict with China. For Japan's sake. That's the really amazing part to me.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So Australia maybe, and I emphasize maybe, won't directly aid Japan in the Senkaku dispute. What is your plan for countering the other $350 billion of defense spending arrayed against you, China? Oh right, you are just a noisy puppy.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So Australia will not help defend Japan. Not a big problem Japan should close any military agreement with them. Honest Abe's "collective defense" is nonsense. This is more proof as God is my witness when war happens Japan will be alone. The Americans will only defend their bases.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

So now we have more reason to develop Japan's arsenal. With attitudes just as above any nation would be a fool not to be prepared.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Share and rule ....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So Australia will not help defend Japan. LOL over what some tiny islands, would Japan help defend Australia if say they went to war with Indonesia over some similar island (eg Christmas island). if you say yes to that then you are a fool.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

They know better that the whole thing is a big lie from Japan's perspective.Read Martin Lochmeyer's thesis at: http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092/4085/1/thesis_fulltext.pdf

I've glanced at that thing before. In essence, Lochmeyer is writing a thesis. Anybody that wants to write a thesis on the Senkaku Islands is strongly tempted to take China's side, because Japan's case is simple and grounded in Modern International Law - it would be over in a few pages, while reviewing China's countering attempt would cover countless documents which will expand the paper to a couple of hundred pages.

The article said 15% would side with Japan vs. 9% siding with China, while aside from a small percent of 'undecided' the rest clearly stated a desire to remain NEUTRAL!

Here's the problem - the questions are for what to do in a conflict. Regardless of your position on the ownership, nobody seriously thinks Japan would make aggressive war with China over the islands, which means only the reverse is a significant scenario. Thus in the scenario China at best is an aggressor with a legitimate grievance which nevertheless hardly suffices for war, or at worse they are liars without a grievance yet trying to deceive all of us they do.

Despite this, a full 9% side with them anyway. And 71% openly say they would do nothing as a bully (China) beats up Japan (victim) over a bunch of islands.

If I put things in this light, would you be more concerned about Aussie morals?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

If you follow inshikoku's link, the first question is, "Are you aware of the dispute?"

40% are aware 53% are not aware 7% are not sure

That's interesting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To put my comment in perspective,I felt it rather a shame that the polled Australians had (by far) little interest in Japan as an ally.After a long term economic commitment involving agriculture,tourism,education etc I was surprised by the result.Not only that, Japan shares many democratic features with Australia that China does not. The rule of law in China is not founded on democratic principles but party principles. The recent demonstrations in Hong Kong are indicative of how the Chinese system abhors democracy. An international conflict could arise and if it does would the Australian people really be able to stand aloof?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

4, 9, 15% supporting Japan US or China seem to be not much difference. Australia would be as much neutral as possilbe whatever happen over Senkakus. Australia would make its mind about siding which one when ship/airplane were shot by it over there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This survey has no real basis. Without seeing the heritage of those surveyed its a pure waste of time. A large percentage of Australia has Chinese heritage these days, be they from HKG, MAS, SIN, VET, etc. while those with Japanese heritage is minute. Many Australians have no concern about what's going on in the world as long as they have a job and cold beer. Do the same survey in another capital city and you will get a different answer every day of the week. Ask the question about Tibet and most would have no idea there is an issue there.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I don't believe polls they are all way bias. I know my family would side with Japan not China.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No one can say what happened to the Yuan dynasty DNA. I'm thinking it is still highly prevalent in the CCP.

Yuan what army?

Thanks for the survey link. The questions are selected with a skew on Australia's relationship with China. Examples:

If there were a conflict between China and Japan, and Australia supported Japan in conjunction with the USA, do you think the value of Australia’s trade with China would fall?

No question asks about Oz trade with Japan.

In the event of a war over the islands, if the American President rang the Australian Prime Minister to ask Australia to join the Japanese and Americans, what should he say?

No question asks what would happen if the Chinese president rang the Australian PM for support.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At first, I have a great admiration for China and Japan and hope that this issue does not become a stupid war. Being very naive, just look the size of China in comparison to Japan. China is a huge continental country, Japan is a much smaller complex of islands. But, if they cannot reach a peaceful agreement the islands in dispute could become an UN territory.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

If the response from the west and US regarding to the controversial ADIZ declared by Chinese regime could server as precursor for the future reference of the disputed rocks in East China Sea, Japan might have learned some invaluable something from that.

The issue is that Japan shows little interest to accept the reality now and in the past. That was why it was defeated in WWII. (Kamikaze pilots’ lives were totally wasted for the blind and toxic nationalism.)

Again, peaceful negotiations, neither confrontation nor armed conflict, will benefit for those countries involved in territorial claims.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The poll doesn't show much of anything, as far as I can see, including what the Australian government would do. Senkakus?. Never heard of it, mate, but have some beer with your steak. No war... relax.... life is good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Right now, Japan is too busy to work with China to create both countries to become top economic and business partner. China is close to Japan. Maybe Japan couldn't care less big and far away counny]tru? One big gain on China and one small loss in Australia? When S E Asian countries refuse Japan, then Japan has to worry, not now.It is time Japan Inc get out from Australia and increase itheir footsteps to China and S E Asian countries.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Just look at who did the survey

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Asked what Australia should do if armed conflict broke out between Japan, the United States and China over the islands, only 15% said they supported backing a Japan-U.S. alliance.

Four percent said Australia should back China and 9% were unsure, the poll of more than 1,000 Australians found.

and you can bank on the fact that not one of those polled has any real clue or knowledge of this issue.

It would hardly be a 1,000 people who had intelligence enough to understand the situation, we could sample 1,000 people randomly on any current world subject in any country to find that the vast majority had no real knowledge if the issue being asked about.

Half the people in this world today don't even understand or know what is going on past the end of their daily commute.

This poll holds no merit or sway and totally meaningless.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

It's like asking "which would you choose, your mother or your father?" A ridiculous question gets a ridiculous answer. Duh......

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Most surveys like this are meaningless to anyone except newspapers and whoever did the survey. All the above is 'interesting', but anyhow, I would throw in another spanner. Your garden-variety Australia probably cares/thinks little about Japan on a day-to-day basic and I doubt a comparative of the value of China or Japan would enter their minds. Mention, however, 'Japan', 'territory dispute', 'sea', and they might mention the fact that Japan regularly and with their government's approval violate rules in the Southern Ocean to hunt whales. My point is, Japan blots it's own copybook with Australian. Now IF the Chinese shark fin industry got as much press as Japanese whalers it would be interesting. Issues blur, yeah.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This survey is very accurate. Why would a third nation (Australia) get involved in something that is no concern to them? 71% neutrality is very reasonable. unlike the U.S., it doesnt have soldiers in Japan and are obligated to protect and fight for Japan in a war. Interestingly, 15% support Japan while only 4% support China in a war. Consider this a win for Japan.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If China uses military force to take the Senkakus the United States will intervene. The POTUS, two Secretaries of State and two Secretaries of Defense have stated this in no uncertain terms. Australia has a defense alliance with the U.S. so if China and the U.S. engage in conflict, how the average Australian survey taker who has no idea where the Senkakus are feels about it is about as irrelevant as it can get. But got to hand it to the Chinese, they still want to win this through propaganda rather than the ICJ.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiJan. 07, 2015 - 05:07PM JST Anybody that wants to write a thesis on the Senkaku Islands is strongly tempted to take China's side, because Japan's case is simple and grounded in Modern International Law - it would be over in a few pages, while reviewing China's countering attempt would cover countless documents which will expand the paper to a couple of hundred pages.

Until 1900, Japan refer to the islands around Taiwan with Chinese names. Why suddenly Diaoyu/Senkaku became terra nullius after 1894 when Japan annexed Taiwan and other islands? Clearly, the exercise was to pre-empt any counterclaims by China or to legalize what they were stealing Japan surveyed the islands for 10 years and determined that they were uninhabited. That being the case, in 1895 it erected a sovereignty marker that formally incorporated the islands into Japanese territory.

Before Japan defeated China in 1894, Japan went surveying the islands in the East China Sea. the Chinese named since Ming period as the Diaoyu centuries back. Therefore, in 1884 Japan took an interest on Diaoyu ten years before she defeated China in 1894 in the First Sino-Japanese War. China used it as a marker in its route from Fuzhou to Naha, now in present-day Okinawa, and where occasion demands, its fisherman would seek temporary refuge from the raging sea storms, thus its name Diaoyu means “Fishing Platform.”

It just does not make sense that the Japanese, with nothing to gain, would spend ten years meticulously surveying the islands before 1894. Oil or gas had not been discovered or reported to be around the vicinity for Japan to be interested, at that point of time the need for fossil energy was not critical to Japan. Why would Japan embark on a non-viable survey for ten years to determine without any doubt that Diaoyu was terra nullius? If, as Japan claims, the ten years spent surveying the islands would mean they were likely to encounter Chinese fisherman taking shelter there in a storm and not actually terra nullius, would Japan have accepted that the islands were visited by Chinese fishermen?

Then why Japan did not lay claim to Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands before 1894 the year Japan vanquished Qing China’s navy? Why wait until 1896 after Japan forced an unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki on China in 1895 to pass an imperial decree to make Diaoyu a Japanese territory? Surely it is obvious that Japan had not surveyed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands to verify that it is no man’s land or uninhabited, because Japan could not as Japan knew the islands belong to China.

That accounts why Japan could not claim to discover the islands unless by outright war of conquest, which Japan did in 1894, and issued an imperial decree in 1896 to make Diaoyu a part of the Japanese Empire after the 1895 Treaty of Shimonoseki. Thus it would appear to me Japan is disingenuous, as Japan well knew long before her 1894 defeat of China, the Senkaku Islands were named as Diaoyu, a fishing platform for Chinese fishermen to take refuge in storms and route markers. To say Japan surveyed ten years the islands she called Senkaku Islands was a pretence Japan did not hear of the name Diaoyu used by China centuries before Japan called it Senkaku Islands.

The truth is very much lacking from Japan. Now, why terra nullius and not res nullius (a thing that has no owner)? To claim terra nullius is to say no one ever lived there before, and at the point of time, the discovery was made. Thus, having ‘proved’ terra nullius, Japan purported to land in Diaoyu and claims it as a discovery. That was what precisely Japan trying to legitimise their theft and answerable to no one with what is suspiciously a big lie.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Why would a third nation (Australia) get involved in something that is no concern to them?

Because it is of concern to them.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Regardless the politics of the poll and the government, Australia will put Australian's interest at first and foremost on this issue. Senkaku islands are not just pieces of rock since natural resources and territory boundary are in the mix. The dispute must be resolved by multilateral means according to international norm. "if" means something, isn't it mate????

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Oh spare us the fake outrage l..., so if theoretically Australia got into a dispute with say Indonesia over some specs of rock to its north and the same question was asked of Japanese public I bet the answers would be similar and a vast majority of Japanese wouldn't want to get involved either. In the end though , as ossan says how the public feels would not necessarily be reflected in the stance of the Government ( plenty of examples of that here in Japan too ).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

OssanAmerica

Australia has a defense alliance with the U.S. so if China and the U.S. engage in conflict, how the average Australian survey taker who has no idea

According your logic, Aussie must participate if there is the military conflict between them. Why not France, Saudi and other US allies did not participate in Irag war in 2003? Only Britain and Aussie contributed for Irag war.

Back in 1965, Aussie engaged with Indonesia in short conflict. US is Aussie defense ally. However US said that it was not covered with ANZUS treaty and did not participate. It is fair for Aussie for taking the break for potential conflict. Senkaku conflict is not covered with ANZUS treaty too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

a poll commissioned by the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology, Sydney,

Ask yourself what?

The Australia- China Relations Institute conduct a survey, guess what the result will be ?

Too many people are too thick to understand simple things.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The poll doesn't really matter anyway, Australia would most likely help out the US even if 95% of the population were against it. The politicians make the decisions, not newspaper polls

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sfjp330 First, you seem to be drinking down the Chinese claim straight down.

Until 1900, Japan refer to the islands around Taiwan with Chinese names

Instead of disputing this claim, I will point out how such a scenario is very lethal to China's claim. First, you've just claimed that China has a name for it, which the Japanese copied. That's not too lethal for Japan - ceding the discovery claim does not really destroy Japan's claim which has its core the Terra Nullus. The big thing is that there are very famous maps made in the 50s where the Chinese copied the Japanese name (尖閣). Which means the Chinese cut off their own name in favor of the Japanese one - that's acquiesance and is a game-ender.

China used it as a marker in its route from Fuzhou to Naha, now in present-day Okinawa, and where occasion demands, its fisherman would seek temporary refuge from the raging sea storms, thus its name Diaoyu means “Fishing Platform.”

Diaoyu just means "fishing". The platform part is in the "tai".

Anyway, so the Chinese claim. You might be interested to know, however, the Japanese name for the biggest island is 魚釣. One can argue that if anything, it was the Japanese that was using it that way, and the Chinese adapted the name.

It just does not make sense that the Japanese, with nothing to gain, would spend ten years meticulously surveying the islands before 1894.

I'll tell you what doesn't make sense - why the Japanese would even bother with terra nullus unless they believe it is the right procedure.

1895 Japanese policy is made without knowledge that 50 years down the line they'd be forced to unconditionally surrender. If they feel the Chinese have a claim but they want the islands anyway, in 1895 it is a better play to just include it as part of the Shimonoseki treaty concessions, without playing with terra nullus. It gives the Chinese a chance to file a counterclaim and possibly even keep the island, while if they include it in Shimonoseki, (from the viewpoint of a planner in 1895) though they have to concede China had sovereignty, it doesn't really matter since it is definitely to be transferred to Japan.

The fact that two procedures were used indicate, rather than anything sneaky, a genuine belief that the two issues are separate. Which the Chinese did not object to at the time (separating the two issues gives the Chinese a chance to file a counterclaim without really affecting relations too much). And that should have been the end of the game.

@Marcelito

Oh spare us the fake outrage l..., so if theoretically Australia got into a dispute with say Indonesia over some specs of rock to its north and the same question was asked of Japanese public I bet the answers would be similar and a vast majority of Japanese wouldn't want to get involved either. In the end though , as ossan says how the public feels would not necessarily be reflected in the stance of the Government ( plenty of examples of that here in Japan too ).

If Australia got into an armed conflict with Indonesia over specks of rock, it won't be obvious who was the aggressor. The equivalent question would be "Indonesia attacks Australia over rocks. Do you think Japan should support Australia?"

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Been in Australia for a week on holidays and have seen nothing about this on the news. My guess is the vast majority of Australians have never heard of the islands and would not care less in any case. ((Well, the survey seems to prove this correct)

Stupid and pointless article.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Aussie value trade with China, So, Japan Inc in Aussie will gradually move out.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Ethan Wilber

The issue is that Japan shows little interest to accept the reality now and in the past. That was why it was defeated in WWII. (Kamikaze pilots’ lives were totally wasted for the blind and toxic nationalism.)

Interesting. Care to explain why the rest of the world is still at wars of their own? Is it because they accept the reality now and in the past?

We could say all the soldiers of the world are wasting their lives for the blind and toxic nationalism, but it's not up to us to judge. They all have their own belief, pride, and faith that we might not agree on or sympathize with. Many young kamikaze pilots only hoped to die with dignity and wished to reunite with other souls at Yasukuni. I am sure they were scared, wanted to run away, wished to live longer but chose not to in hope of serving their country and protecting their loved ones. We can say the same for any soldiers. You sitting in an AC conditioned room playing with PC and coffee in your hand saying "your life was totally wasted!" seems super immoral and disrespectful.

Australians' choice of remaining neutral is rather reasonable, considering massive amount of Chinese immigrants within their land. Japan should not play a victim and portray China as a bully. If China slaps us, unfortunately, we need to stand up on our own feet.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Kazuaki ShimazakiJan. 08, 2015 - 01:16PM JST @sfjp330 First, you seem to be drinking down the Chinese claim straight down.

If Japan has definite ownership of Senkaku/Daioyu islands without doubt, why would Japan offer to explore resources jointly with China? If Japan owns it, they didn't need to ask China. It shows Japan has a weak claim and they know it. The solution to the competing claims emerged in 2008, when Japan and China reached a principled consensus on joint development of disputed area that includes the potentially gas-rich Chunxiao/Shirakaba field. However, the 2010 ramming of Japanese Coast Guard cutters by a Chinese fishing boat and the subsequent arrest of the Chinese captain by the Japanese, have halted all movement toward formalizing the 2008 consensus.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If Japan has definite ownership of Senkaku/Daioyu islands without doubt, why would Japan offer to explore resources jointly with China? If Japan owns it, they didn't need to ask China. It shows Japan has a weak claim and they know it. The solution to the competing claims emerged in 2008, when Japan and China reached a principled consensus on joint development of disputed area that includes the potentially gas-rich Chunxiao/Shirakaba field

Of course they do if the 'proposed' research area is on the Chinese side of the median line (Chinese mainland and Senkaku) like all of China's gas fields.

Better question is, why doesn't China build the gas field on the Japanese side of the median line is they were so confident of their claim? If I may use your words, "It shows China has a weak claim and they know it!!".

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

nigelboy Jan. 09, 2015 - 07:11AM JST Better question is, why doesn't China build the gas field on the Japanese side of the median line is they were so confident of their claim?

They don't need to. China built its drilling platforms on what Japan recognizes as Chinese-controlled waters, but they could suck up gas that sits under the Japanese side. If you didn't know, there is no boundaries below the ground.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They don't need to. China built its drilling platforms on what Japan recognizes as Chinese-controlled waters, but they could suck up gas that sits under the Japanese side. If you didn't know, there is no boundaries below the ground

And they are free to do that.

Unocal/Shell studied the 'potential' gas fields and found out that the potential harvest amount is unsteady and the potential costs were inefficient.

In any case, it's not about the energy sources now but the prevention of Chinese access to the 'island chain' to the Pacific which is upsetting them. Conceivably, U.S./Japan could 'starve' China by limiting commercial maritime acess if they choose to do so.

I must give credit to the Chinese for abiding by the UNCLOS, though.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

How hard is it to make a deal for peace. Japan wants the fish and china the oil. Japan can only fish there and china gets the oil. If the oil is more than the price of the fish..... they go 50/50 on the profits / extra value......After the cost of the fish. Both countries can have 50/50 workers on the island and 2 flags at = height.

But yet life is 2 hard

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Australians are being practical, they do not want to be in a silly war where lives are lost over a stupid rock. thats already been done in the past.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Australians can see what many oyaji politicians in Japan can't - that there is in fact a dispute between China and Japan over the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands. (Japan's attitude to the recent IWC ruling may also play a part in Australia not supporting Japan in this) In addition, Aussies just don't want to get involved in a potential conflict over a clump of rocks

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

We have your back, Japan. Australia feels a bit exposed, which is why they can't commit. If China were smart, it would cease and desist going for the Senkakus when that sort of energy is rather obsolete. In fact, we made it extremely cheap by flooding the market. But we have more to offer. Much more.

We have clean energy that would make all of China sparkle clean, without needing the oil and gas in Japan's EEZ. Fusion energy. But, we found that China is stuck in the past, wanting to forget their hundreds of years of humiliation through war-like behavior, now that they're just a little bit strong.

We can't have that. Right now, we're giving China time to reflect on her bad behavior by giving China cheap gas and oil. We can do a lot more. We can actually provide virtually free energy with helium-3, which we have already developed for peace or war. Yes, if not for PLA belligerence, we could make China sparkling clean.

We brought back "tons" of moon rocks, if you remember. Tons of it. Guess what we found in those moon rocks? Helium-3. Guess what we did with the helium-3? We made a new kind of fusion-nuclear bomb, 12 of them in fact. Stronger than Hiroshima's bomb. The beauty of these bombs is that there is no radiation. None.

Yes, we're protecting the future. And there are 12 Chinese cities that will evaporate off the face of the globe, if the PLA doesn't cool its jets. The CCP knows we have helium-3 and that we made these bombs. This is one of the reasons why China is trying to go to the moon.

It's a space and arms race right now. And China just can't keep up. So, stick your nose out of the Senkakus and back off from your spurious claim to the South China Sea. Because, it things start to heat up, there will be one billion fewer Chinese for the world to worry about.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Opinions changes fast when a shooting war start especially when it flares into neighboring regions which it will considering the very volatile situation the SE Asia is.

Chamberlain was a popular political figure during peace time but look how his popularity dropped like a rock when war flared up Hilter came into the scene.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Aussie value trade with China, So, Japan Inc in Aussie will gradually move out. LOL move out there are plenty of other countires that would replace them, Japan exports what people WANT and other countries also manufacture (eg cars electronics) Australia export what other countries NEED, gas, iron ore, copper gold, beef, wheat, many other agricultural products. theres a big difference

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is actually a very interesting problem.

If China were to invade, attack or somehow militarily attempt to take those japanese islands, of course the response from allies would be, well lets stay neutral, spilling blood over uninhabited rocks is not worth it. And this is true.

However, also true would be the fact China is basically using its military for land conquest. So the question is why would Australia, America or any other nation step back and decide its ok to allow a country to start invading and using military violence as a means to advance its agendas.

This is the catch 22, it really is insane to go to war over islands but if it is allowed to happen, then where does it stop. What if china wants a few more islands. What if it decides norther Philippines, Taiwan, a few more chunks of central asia, Mondolia, parts of russia, korea are all formerly part of some imaginary chinese empire the communists there have decided they somehow inherited, even though this empire never existed and what comes close the communists declared invalid and removed.

Look at history, Hitler did this to advance germany before invading poland, Czech under the excuse of helping ethnic germans, taking back lands supposedly formerly german, Putin is doing it now, invaded Crimea with legitimate excuses as well but still an invasion. Then after doing that, expanded into the rest of the Ukraine.

This take a little bite because who would go to war for such irrelevant land is also some of the methods Rome used to get footholds. It is then always interesting to see nations declare neutrality when in fact they are not being neutral at all, they are giving tacit permission to an aggressive country, it is perfectly ok to use military to invade any land you decide is yours. Merely one step away from it becoming invading for land they want, forget trying to claim it with faked historical evidence.

So if the australians polled were reminded that historically a nation who pulls the stunt china is, generally results in future invasions of other lands and eventual oppression or war, would they really say they would be neutral.

Remember, how many nations from 1900 to 1945 were supposedly neutral as a variety of nations invaded and colonized. The world ended up in two world wars because of this neutrality and this same neutrality resulted in a cold war as well. Since 1945, a variety of invasions attempts, such as arab countries invading israel, Pakistan invading kashmir to be two examples and lets not forget China invaded and completely took over Tibet, not unpopulated rocks in the sea and everyone was "neutral"

This extends beyond land grabs, how many middle eastern and african nations have real active slavery occurring and the rest of the world stays "neutral" for fear of judging a culture and countries as having problems. How many countries have subjugated women to little more than property, to be raped or sold at whim or simply exposed to die at birth because having a son is better, culturally. All of this insanity is also ignored or at least everyone else remains "neutral" But the same problem occurs, how do you justify spilling your own blood to do something about these things.

Still there is always a starting point and historically, especially with wars and invasions, most of them begin with an aggressive nation taking a nibble of land like these islands, they get away with it, years pass and they do it again, taking more, being more brazen and the rest of the world will keep turning away in the hopes the aggressor will become satisfied and stop. The only problem is we are talking about politicians, No matter what country or religion, politicians always take and take, there is NEVER enough, which will mean if china invaded, took those islands by force, some time in the future, they will take more and eventually some massive war will result and that leaves the question, could it all have been stopped if China was stopped at these islands.

What would have happened in 1936, when germany, barred from militarizing the rhineland, was negotiating to take it over again, promising things like germany would never use force to change its borders but then germany went in anyway. This was allowed to happen. Not long after, germany hit Czech with the ethnic german saving excuse. Had he been stopped in seemingly pointless to everyone else Rhineland, WWII may not have happened, who knows but definitely is an example of taking a nibble, then later, taking a large bite. China will do this, So will russia and probably most aggressors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm Australian but I certainly choose Japan's side for most matters!! I support Japan and and this article surprised me!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No one can say what happened to the Yuan dynasty DNA. I'm thinking it is still highly prevalent in the CCP.

Even during the Yuan Dynasty, the majority of the people didn't have Mongol genes. In fact, Japanese are more closely related to the Mongols by blood.

It's kind of funny. What does the CCP have anything to do with this? Or democracies? Did you even read the article? Australians prefer to be neutral, and you're angry at them for it? This is what happens when you're too obsessed with a specific country or entity, all reason is lost.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@John Ngo It has everything to do with the CCP and democracy. If you lived in one, you would know it is essential for long term peace. Even for China. Australia should know this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm Australian but I certainly choose Japan's side for most matters!!

Bully for you.

I support Japan and and this article surprised me!

Why should it? Australian diggers' lives shouldn't be risked for a clump of rocks to which Japan shouldn't have any claim over anyway

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I don't believe polls they are all way bias. I know my family would side with Japan not China.

Same here regarding polls...but we would side with China, not Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wow, never realized I got so many thumbs down... @tohka - It has nothing to do with war. Nobody here is at war in the slightest and there is no threat of war, China does not want war. China has a very long and prosperous future ahead of them. I guarantee that in the near future, the most technologically advanced universities will be in China. Can you say the same for japan? It's all downhill due to their stubbornness. China will shun them and they will wither. The best japan can hope is to sustain their stagnation. Being faithful allies and active partners with China is the best way to ensure the best for the future generation. You cannot deny their determination, intellect and overall strength.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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