Contradicting government, Tanaka confidant says two sides cut deal at time of normalization of ties

Senkaku row shelved in ’70s: Nonaka


In a new ripple to Japan’s assertion of ownership of the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, former chief Cabinet Secretary Hiromu Nonaka said leaders from Japan and China had agreed to shelve the territory row when the two countries normalized relations in the early 1970s.

The remark by the former Liberal Democratic heavyweight, a disciple of the late Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka, who cut the normalization deal with Beijing in 1972, contradicts the government’s official stance that there was no such agreement at the time.

Nonaka, who is leading a delegation of current and former Diet members on a visit to China, told reporters Monday, “Just after the normalization of relations, I was told clearly by then-Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka that a decision was made on the normalization by shelving the Senkaku issue.

“As a living witness, I would like to make clear (what I heard),” Nonaka said after meeting in Beijing with Liu Yunshan, the fifth-ranked leader of the Chinese Communist Party.

Liu is said to have told the delegation that Japan is responsible for the current confrontation with China. Apparently aiming to have Japan acknowledge at least the existence of a bilateral territorial dispute, Liu also reportedly said he hopes to see a solution reached through dialogue between the two governments.

In Tokyo, top officials reiterated the government’s view that the Senkakus are not an issue Japan should put on the shelf since no territorial dispute exists.

“There is no truth (to the remark) that (Japan) agreed with China to shelve or maintain the status quo of the Senkaku Islands,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, reiterating Tokyo’s position that no territorial dispute exists.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also repeated the same line: “It is not the case that to this day, we have agreed to shelve (the dispute), nor has there been a territorial dispute that should be shelved in the first place.”

Kishida declined to directly comment on Nonaka’s remarks on the grounds that they were made in a private capacity.

  • rosieo

    I hope this will put a stop to the public lie by Abe’s govt.

    Japan and China relationship is so important that deserves influencial Japanese to speak out about it and put it back to normal track.

  • Ron NJ

    “No territorial dispute exists.” = “Stick fingers in ears, scream ‘lalalala I can’t hear you.'” So childish.

  • Our Government seems still denying it.
    But there’re many weird things left for us to be considered, before we straightly affirm what Government says as it is.
    Almost for 40 years after the Communique, or Panda came, there’s no significant problem happened or heard around these area.
    It’s weird if there’s already a dispute existed and continued, how could we find a rational explanation for this?
    Determination of the drunk rumored Captain’s releasing, against almost of Japanese major opinion, it was weird.
    Then Goushi Hosono’s visiting China bound by some secret mission, in September 29th of 2010, it was quite weird since he and then ministration have completely shut their mouths to talk about the conversation exchanged in Beijin between Hosono and Chinese Government.
    Then comes this time Hiromu Nonaka’s testimony.
    Is there any rational reason to find in why he should lie like this when he’s about to get into his coffin aged 87?

    It’s time for us to face up to it, figuring it out seriously around a reason why Chinese people have got mad that far, as if it’s just for their unreasonable territorial, hegemonic disire or not, or if it had come from something we had done to them before, if there’s some breach kind of thing between both countries or not.
    Because, there might be a rational reason when they’ve got mad that far, since Chinese people, are not such monsters as some Japanese are imagining, or scared of, they’re all human like us, sincere and big hearted as same as when we made the Communique .

  • disqus_UI3gmf2SDs

    There is lack of information. If Nonaka says so, he also has to say that Chinese government accepted the Japan’s “effective control” of Senkaku at that time. Without this information, it’s unfair I think.

    • Hi, may I ask you something, how would your “effective control of Japan at that time” concern with the shelving? Or suspending or putting aside?
      Shelving shouldn’t have been through without both contracting parties’ consents, I think it’s not a matter how much or which would have effected more, or less, it’s all about an agreement established, or promise.
      There’s no conclusion we need as we were more effective back then, or if we were not, so what?
      Or how would we’re going to make it sure, or what would it’s supposed to work to avoid a war, or get a stability back in east Asia, or get along with a precious neighbor, whom we can’t lose whatsoever.

      • disqus_UI3gmf2SDs

        Actually, I also heard there was a “shelved plan” between Japanese and Chinese government at that time. They thought that there would be cleverer persons who could solve this problem. A peace pact is more important at that time.

        However, there may need some rule to handle this island til making an official agreement, maybe 10 or 100 years. And during then, Chinese government agreed with the control this island by Japan. But Ishihara tried to break this rule trying to buy this island by local government finance. That may be, I guess, the reason why Chinese government got angry.

        And, from 1880 to 1940, Koga (Japanese) had borrowed this island from Japanese government, lived there and built dried bonito factory. Before and after this, nobody lives this island. As per my understanding, no Chinese had lived this island. They began insisting when the oil was found around this island. That’s the story of this island, as per my understanding. But it may be one side story from Japan.

  • Neighbor U-Dunno

    In 1874, Japan took Okinawa Islands from China by force. Diaoyutai, however, remained under the administration Taiwan, a part of China.

    Japan falsely claims its purported “discovery in 1884” of the Diaoyu Islands as a group of uninhibited isles in the East China Sea even though the navigation map in its own 1783 historical document, Sankoku Tsūran Zusetsu, published by prominent military scholar Hayashi Shihei stated the area a part of China.

    Taiwan (including Diaoyutai) was ceded to Japan in 1895 after the first Sino-Japanese War, and was returned to China at the end of World War II in1945 based upon the 1943 agreement of the Big Three in Cairo. Diaoyutai as part of the Taiwanhence was included in that package.

    Right after its colonization of Taiwan in 1895, Japan used the opportunity to annex Diaoyu Islands region to Okinawa Perfecture. It failed to return the territory to China in accordance to the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 and the Peace Treatybetween Japan and the Republic of China in 1952.

    These are the facts. How hard is it for Japan to accept it?

    • Casper Steuperaert

      Then why did China only took notice of the islands in 1968? Because oil was discovered near the islands? Your ‘facts’ have no historical proof whatsoever