China’s Senkaku claim has basis: Hatoyama

Kyodo, Staff Report

Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, in an interview aired Tuesday, indicated that from Beijing’s point of view, the Japan-held Senkaku Islands are Chinese territory based on the 1943 Cairo Declaration issued by the Allies.

In the interview conducted Monday in Tokyo with Hong Kong’s Phoenix Television, Hatoyama said it was unavoidable that China would state that Japan stole the uninhabited islets in the East China Sea. The program was aired in and outside of China on Tuesday morning.

Hatoyama, 66, who was in power between September 2009 and June 2010 as head of the Democratic Party of Japan, did not run in last December’s general election and is no longer in the Diet.

In September 2012, then-Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, in a speech at the U.N., accused Japan of stealing the islets and “grossly” violating Chinese sovereignty in the process.

Hatoyama’s remarks run against Tokyo’s position that there is no dispute over the ownership of the Senkakus, which were seized by Japan in 1895.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Hatoyama’s remarks were “irresponsible” and “totally unacceptable.”

“I was dumbfounded and at loss for words after hearing those remarks,” Suga told reporters.

Hatoyama’s own Cabinet upheld the same position as the current administration.

“Such remarks by a former prime minister considerably damage the nation’s interests,” Suga said. “I believe the (Japanese) people share the same feeling.”

China says Japan’s ownership of the islets runs counter to the Cairo Declaration, which called for Japan to be stripped of all islands it had seized or occupied in the Pacific since the beginning of World War I in 1914. It also called for Japan to return all territories it had taken from China, including Manchuria and Taiwan, which it seized in 1895.

Hatoyama said he thinks the Senkakus are implied in the Cairo Declaration from China’s view.

Japan maintains that the islets are part of its territory historically and under international law.

Hatoyama said it is natural for both countries to think the islets are theirs, indicating, as he has previously stated, that Japan should admit the existence of the territorial dispute between the two countries. Taiwan also claims the islets.

Hatoyama’s office in Tokyo declined comment on the interview except to repeat that he has urged the government to admit the row exists.

  • To be honest, I couldn’t find the interview video, or make sure how he’s actually speaking, maybe the interview is not aired yet.
    Apparently, all Japanese Media have just got eager to meddle whether he refered to “stolen” word or not, but it’s not a point.
    It’s all about relationship with a neighbor country, means all about avoiding a war or not, getting wounds or not, counting bodies or not.
    It’s never concerned with some retired politician’s fame or un-fame kind of thing, such a matter is nothing to do with this.
    He can do whatever he can with no spare as long as which is available to avoid a war, or contribute to our peaceful bilateral relationship with neighbors .
    Hope he has much guts to get it through, or stand still.
    As for the Chief Cab, I’ve no memory to agree with you since ever, don’t say such words as “the (Japanese) people share the same feeling” again, ’cause I don’t, I won’t, the only thing I want you to do is trying to avoid a war, making up to China, you have nothing due to do but these.
    Is it what we really expected before, if we’re going to be called “rock mania” by all over the world, ridiculous, why don’t we consider or figure it out as we can get more and more from dealing with China, this big hearted old friend, who has much broader land and huge companies, by taking another peaceful, rational, friendly measure.
    There’s no peace or prosperity only concerns with ourselves, no choice of not taking hands given from neighbor.
    China has been sending signals to put it aside, only thing we have to do is to be polite to them, as long as it’s us who broke the promise made to shelve it, then they will soon stop making it complicated, since they are Chinese, Chinese people never get ugly while someone foreign behaves, that’s what Chinese means to be.
    Leave the rocks, talk with them, to make both of us happy.

  • Ken5745

    Japan has one of the best archives of Govt documents since the Meiji Restoration and these documents are there for anyone to verify why the Foreign Minister, Mr Inoue Kaoru, rejected the request by the Governor of Okinawa to annex the Diaoyu islands in 1885. It was because he KNEW the islands belonged to China in 1885

    Mr Kaoru commented that the islands lay near to the border area with the Qing empire and that they had been given Chinese names. He also cited an article in a Chinese newspaper that had previously claimed that Japan was occupying islands off China’s coast.

    Mr Kaoru was concerned that if Japan proceeded to erect a landmark stating its claim to the islands, it would make the Qing empire suspicious. Following Mr Kaoru’s advice, Yamagata Aritomo, the Minister of the Interior, turned down the request to incorporate the islands, insisting that this matter should not be “revealed to the news media”.

    Yet ten years later in Jan 1895 the Diaoyu islands were annexed by Japan as Terra Nullius during the first Sino-Japanese war while Taiwan was ceded to Japan in perpetuity in accordance with the Shimonoseki Treaty of May 1895.

    Japan renamed the Diaoyu islands as the Senkaku Islands, equivalent to its English name, the Pinnacle Islands in 1900. For these islands to be Terra Nullius and yet have Chinese and English names is ludicrous.

    On Dec 9 1945 five days after the atom bombed dropped in Nagasaki, Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration for unconditional surrender.

    Under the Potsdam Declaration and the Surrender Instrument signed by Japan in Sept 1945, the Diaoyu islands, Taiwan, Manchuria all taken by’ force and greed’ must be returned to China.

    But the US, who crafted the Potsdam Declaration, violated it and handed the administration of the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands to Japan though without any sovereignty, which the US knows but refused to acknowledge, belongs to China.

    But despite all that PM Tanaka and PM Zhou Enlai were happy to ‘shelve’ the disputes over the islands for a wiser future generation to solve, when the two countries normalized diplomatic relations in Sept 1972.

    China only claimed back the islands when Japan unilaterally nationalized the islands in Sept last year.

    Although Mr Abe and the his Ministers have denied any such ‘shelving’ of the island dispute, this was confirmed recently by former chief Cabinet Secretary Mr Hiromu Nonaka, who told reporters in Beijing that “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. and as a living witness, I would like to make (it) clear.”.

    I agree with Nancy that “China has been sending signals to put it aside, only thing we have to do is to be polite to them, as long as it’s us (Japan) who broke the promise made to shelve it. Leave the rocks, talk with them, to make both of us happy.”

    Peace is a better option for Japan.