Japan should use English far more in promoting its territorial claims to the disputed Senkaku and Takeshima islands to the global community and there is little point in simply reiterating its official line that no dispute exists over the Senkakus, a government panel has concluded.
A report released by the panel Tuesday warned the government is falling behind Beijing and Taipei, which also claim the Japanese-held Senkakus, and Seoul regarding the South Korean-administered Takeshima islets, because it currently lacks the ability to communicate effectively with the international community.
It is essential that the government seek the understanding of the international community and win over third parties to gain the upper hand over the competing territorial claims of Beijing, Taipei and Seoul, the panel said.
In addition, it is a waste of time to just keep repeating Tokyo’s official stance that the ownership of the Senkakus in the East China Sea, known as Diaoyu in China and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan, is not in dispute, and that the Takeshima islets in the Sea of Japan, called Dokdo by South Korea, are Japanese territory, the panel further said.
The panel submitted the report to Ichita Yamamoto, minister for Okinawa and affairs pertaining to four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido that Japan has claimed for decades.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Yamamoto that it is important to boost the government’s ability to clearly communicate its position to the rest of the world, adding he wants the minister to follow up on the panel’s proposals.
On the Senkakus, the panel said an effective strategy would be to play up to a greater extent the fact that China only started claiming them in the early 1970s. As for the Takeshima islets, the panel said Tokyo should promote its past efforts to seek a peaceful solution to the sovereignty row with South Korea.
The panel also called on the government to compile more materials in English, create a system to translate Japanese articles and books into English and support Internet sites posting such information. It further said Japan should send more researchers to think tanks abroad, host more international symposiums and provide more English-language materials to Japanese living overseas.