Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara on Tuesday cited China’s official People’s Daily as describing — on Jan. 8, 1953 — the Senkaku Islands as part of Japan’s territory.
The description indicates China’s current territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea are “groundless,” Maehara told the Upper House foreign policy and defense committee.
The People’s Daily described the Ryukyu Islands as “dispersed between the northeastern part of our country’s Taiwan and the southwestern part of Japan’s Kyushu Island” and as including the Senkaku Islands as well as the Sakishima Islands, Maehara said.
“It is clear that the Senkaku Islands are inherent Japanese territory,” he said.
Maehara also noted that a world atlas published in China in 1960 specified the Senkaku Islands as part of Okinawa Prefecture.
China and Taiwan began to make territorial claims to the Senkaku Islands around 1970 as oil resources in the area attracted attention.
Tension between Japan and China has grown bitter since a Chinese fishing boat collided with Japan Coast Guard cutters near the islands Sept. 7.