Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba repeated Tuesday that the Senkaku Islands are an inherent part of Japan and voiced hope that ties with Taiwan will not be marred because of Taipei’s and China’s claims to them.
Genba made the remarks after Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou set forth an initiative calling on other countries, apparently with Japan and China in mind, to set rules of conduct and join hands in developing resources in the East China Sea for the sake of stability in Northeast Asia.
“We can’t accept Taiwan’s own claim,” Genba said, maintaining Japan’s long-standing stance that no territorial issue over the Japan-administered Senkakus exists.
But he said he does not wish to have the matter affect what he said were “good Japan-Taiwan relations.”
Genba also left the door open for cooperation with other countries over the resource-rich East China Sea.
“Regarding the East China Sea, we may think of various ways of cooperation,” he added.
Ma referred to the initiative during a speech Sunday on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of a “peace accord” signed in 1952 between Japan and Taiwan.
Koreas in ‘East Sea’ push
North and South Korea called Monday for the term “East Sea” to be used concurrently with the Sea of Japan to describe the body of water separating Japan and the Korean Peninsula.
At a meeting of the U.N. Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names, the two Koreas argued that both of the names should be adopted by organizations, including the International Hydrographic Organization, noting it is becoming increasingly common across the globe to describe the body of water concurrently as the East Sea and the Sea of Japan.
North Korea said the name Sea of Japan was a holdover from Japan’s brutal colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula from 1910 to 1945, according to diplomatic sources.
Japanese Ambassador to the U.N. Jun Yamazaki stressed, however, that the argument is groundless because the Sea of Japan has been accepted and used internationally.
Ferjan Ormeling, chairman of the UNCSGN, said the conference has no decision-making authority over the naming issue, voicing hope that the nations making the arguments can resolve their differences.
SDF Golan duty extended
The government said Tuesday it will extend the Self-Defense Forces peacekeeping mission in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights by six months in line with U.N. policy.
The mission, which was set to expire on Sept. 30, will be extended to next March 31 in line with an extension by the U.N. Security Council of the mandate of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force monitoring the ceasefire between Israel and Syria, government officials said.
Japan dispatched SDF personnel to the Golan Heights for the first time in 1996, and 46 service members are engaged in transporting daily necessities and other logistics operations as part of UNDOF, which has been supervising the disengagement accord between Israeli and Syrian forces since 1974.
Following the extension, the government will send one additional service member for transportation duties, the officials said.