New official site to state case for Senkakus, Takeshima


The government will set up a new website to promote its claims over disputed islands in nearby waters, a Cabinet minister announced Friday, risking a fresh backlash from China and South Korea.

Tokyo has already sent out such information through the existing website of the Foreign Ministry, stating its position on sovereignty over the Beijing-claimed but Japan-held Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea and the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan, which Seoul controls.

“As China and South Korea have actively transmitted information, we must also enhance our transmission to the world,” Ichita Yamamoto, state minister in charge of territorial issues, told reporters as he revealed the plan to launch the new official website, possibly within the year.

The website, to be launched by the Cabinet Secretariat, will explain Japan’s positions on the islet groups in English. It will also carry videos, said Yamamoto, who added the government will discuss effective ways to get Japan’s messages through at a new panel to be set up next week and joined by officials from the Foreign and Defense ministries and other offices.

The Senkakus, which lie west of Okinawa Island and are called Diaoyu by China, are administered by Japan. Tensions over the islets heightened after the government effectively nationalized them in September 2012.

The Takeshima islets are under the control of South Korea, where they are known as Dokdo. Tokyo protested to Seoul when former President Lee Myung-bak made an unprecedented visit to the islets in August last year.

The territorial rows have been at the center of recent bilateral frictions Tokyo has felt in its relationships with China and South Korea, both of which have urged lawmakers to face up to Japan’s wartime aggression in the region.

  • davidson

    From the jurisprudence perspective, Japan got hold of Diaoyu Dao in 1895 through a war of aggression. The Qing court was defeated in the war and was forced to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan “the isand of Formosa (Taiwan), together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa”. Diaoyu Dao was ceded to Japan as one of those islands. When the Chinese government officially declared war against Japan during the World War II, it also declared the abrogation of all treaties between China and Japan, including the Treaty of Shimonoseki, annulling the jurisprudence grounds for Japan to claim Diaoyu Dao. After the victory of the Anti-Fascist War, such important documents as the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation, and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender all provided that Diaoyu Dao, as an appertaining island to Formosa (Taiwan), shall be restored to China. In 1951, Japan, the US and a number of other countries signed the Treaty of San Francisco, which placed the Nansei Islands south of the 29th parallel of North Latitude under the United Nations trusteeship, but it did not include Diaoyu Dao. In 1971, Japan and the US signed the Okinawa Reversion Agreement, which in the absence of China provided that any and all powers of administration over the Ryukyu Islands and Diaoyu Dao would be “returned” to Japan. In the aftermath, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a solemn statement. In response to the strong opposition from China, the US publicly clarified its position on the sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao, stressing that the US took a neutral position with regard to the competing Japanese and Chinese claims to the islands.

    As China and Japan were normalizing relations and concluding the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in the 1970s, the then leaders of the two countries, acting in the larger interest of China-Japan relations, reached important understanding and consensus on “leaving the issue of Diaoyu Dao to be resolved later.” But in recent years, Japan has repeatedly taken unilateral measures concerning Diaoyu Dao and conducted in particular the so-called “nationalization” of Diaoyu Dao. This severely infringed upon China’s sovereignty and ran counter to the understanding and consensus reached between the older generation of leaders of the two countries. It has not only seriously damaged China-Japan relations, but also rejected and challenged the outcome of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.

  • michael johnson

    Strategically it is a challenge to Japan, Taiwan and the US. It also allows China threaten lines of military support if China continues to theaten SE asia countries within their own economic zones.