Tokyo admits ‘differing views’ on Senkakus, opening door to Abe-Xi meeting


Staff Writer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to have a summit meeting in Beijing next week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, a senior lawmaker in the ruling camp said Friday.

Komeito party leader Natsuo Yamaguchi cited a briefing Abe gave regarding his diplomatic schedule.

Such an encounter would be the first between the two leaders since Abe returned to power nearly two years ago.

Earlier in the day, the Japanese government released a written statement saying Beijing and Tokyo have agreed to recognize that the two sides have “differing views over the recent tension” over the Senkakus in the East China Sea. The islets are also claimed by China and Taiwan.

China has demanded that Japan admit a territorial dispute exists over the Senkakus, which it calls Diaoyu. Tokyo has rejected this, saying there can be no territorial dispute because there is no question about the legitimacy of Japan’s claim on the Senkakus.

China set the demand as one of two conditions for a summit meeting between Abe and Xi.

The document is vague. It does not declare outright that a territorial dispute exists, but the wording may still be strong enough to allow Beijing to save face and argue it has forced Japan issue an admission.

Beijing’s other key demand was that Abe declare he will no longer pay visits to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo. Abe has refused to accept that request, calling his visits and the decisions behind them an entirely private matter.

Friday’s statement makes no direct mention of the Yasukuni Shrine. But it speaks of recent achievements in bilateral relations, including an agreement to continue developing a “mutually beneficial strategic relationship” and to “address history straight-on.”

Earlier in the day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference Japan had made no compromise over the Senkaku and Yasukuni issues in its negotiations with China.

“Our positions haven’t changed,” Suga said.

“At any rate, it’s important for the world’s second and third largest economies to be frank and have a (summit) meeting.”

  • timefox

    What kind of result is brought. Up to stairs, it will warn against dancing in a wish report, and suppose that it waits for a result.

  • Testerty

    Why would China and Japan even bother to made an announcement they agreed to disagree IF there is going to be a leader summit between Xi and Abe? So, obviously there will be no meeting.

  • tiger

    Everyone knows there a dispute exists. It’s been nagged about in the western media for so long. Abe can do better than that.

  • rossdorn

    “Tokyo admits ‘differing views’ on Senkakus…”

    They could have made that to everyone obvious statement a few years ago. But as long as the overlords in Washington insist on building up another “evil”, Japan has no say in the matter.
    With the usual consequences.

  • Frank Thornton

    I don’t see why Japan has a hard time to ” admit a territorial dispute exists over the Senkakus”. Even if you’re sure of ownership, if some guy walks up to your house and says it’s his and tries to keep you away from it, isn’t that a territorial dispute? Come on! Grow up! Stop being a little child and start fixing the problem.

    • tisho

      Because if they officially admit there is a territorial dispute then the islands status would have to change, the islands would officially be under a disputed status which means both parties policies would also have to change and then the procedure for solving and engaging in any policies regarding that island must be different. So they don’t want to admit there is a dispute even thought there clearly is for that reason. There are international laws related to territorial disputes which Japan would have to follow, which they don’t want to follow and that would also make it VERY likely they could potentially lose the islands legally.

      • Frank Thornton

        Understood. But that only makes me want to stress more, “Grow up”. Time to get things rolling in one direction or the other. Same as the whaling. If you go to international court, you’re going to have to live with the consequences. Can’t pick and choose the rules/decisions you want to obey and not obey.

      • tisho

        Japan has been picking and choosing the rules/decisions for decades now. The only international rules Japan follows are the ones that suit their own agenda or directly benefits them, if they don’t, then they just find a loophole to bypass it. Same with the whaling/dolphin hunt, same with the air identification zone, same with everything. That’s Japan style. In the case of the Senkaku islands though, it’s a little bit more complicated. The US is also heavily involved in this, because those islands come with the territorial waters surrounding it, which China wants to control. There are also oil deposits near those islands. Under no circumstance does Japan wants to lose the islands, that would give China a lot of territorial waters, only few miles away from Okinawa, the US also doesn’t want this to happen, so the best thing to do is not admit any dispute at all, the islands are already covered under the US-Japan treaty for protection, so at the moment China can’t do anything about it.

        Japan is a vessel state of the US, is has been since the war ended. Currently China is posing a threat to the US hegemony in the region, and in the world for that matter, so containing China is US number 1 priority. So steering animosity between Japan and China is strategically perfect for the US. Japan provoking and antagonizing China using historical issues and now the islands is exactly what the US wants, the more they hate each other the more Japan gets closer to the US, even thought it always was. Japans policies toward China are just proxies from the US.

        In this situation Japan is the only loser of the game. Japans economy is in terrible state and they are also export driven economy, no investor will ever choose Japan over China, also China is just now beginning to grow and its already the second largest economy, imagine what would happen in 10 years time from now. Japan should do whats best for its own people and become friends with China and stop being the proxy state of US foreign policies.

    • KenjiAd

      I think that, in diplomacy, a silly statement like “(dispute xyz) doesn’t exist” is made when one party is unwilling to negotiate. It doesn’t literally mean the non-existence of the issue; it simply indicates that, in this case Japan, doesn’t want to engage itself in negotiation.

      In your analogy, you could say “There is nothing to discuss about the ownership of *my* house.” Basically the same thing.

      What happened this time is that, although Japan hasn’t changed its “no negotiation” stance on Diaoyu/Senkaku, it now seems to acknowledge that China doesn’t agree with Japan’s stance. Not that Japan didn’t know about it, but Japan now acknowledges it.

      • Frank Thornton

        I totally agree. And that’s what I’m trying to get at. If the guy comes to my house and says it’s his and wont let me in, I can’t just say that there is no dispute. I have to call the cops and tell them that there is a problem. This guy thinks that “my” house is his. Of course “There is nothing to discuss about the ownership of *my* house.” but I do have to get him off my property. Then, naturally I will have to produce proof of ownership and so on. If necessary, we have to go to court. That’s what I’m trying to get at. I can’t just say that there is no dispute and hope that this guy goes away. Because he wont. Not only will he not go away, he’s planning on claiming the neighborhood!! Does this guy sound familiar?

  • Win T Pu

    I find Japanese executives are always negotiating this way. Even if we enter the negotiation with their holding weak cards, they will take the hardest claims, until the last second. They sometimes get away with it because you may have lack of information, lack of confidence, internal factions, time table deadlines or just running out of strength to stonewall them. Remember when Noda “nationalize the islands” he baldfacedly warned China not to react because he said “China will get hurt more than Japan.” Two weeks later when Japanese cars were getting rejected, he declared “this situation will hurt both nations.” Several months later, when it was obvious Japan was getting the worse of it, they changed their position of accusing China of trying to hurt Japan economically. So I do not want to hold an opinion on what compromise they will admit to. We’ll see.

  • Ethan Kaiunmanzoku

    Don’t release the news from the view of Chinese government!
    Japan had made no compromise over the Senkaku and Yasukuni issues in its negotiations with China!

    Japan Timesは、中共の主張を宣伝するような記事の出し方をしてはならない!

    The title must have been ‘Tokyo admits ‘differing views “over the recent tension”’ , Not different views’ “on Senkaku”!

    このJapan Timesの記事の表題は、different views’ “on Senkaku” となっているが、誤りである。differing views “over the recent tension” となるべきである。