Foreign Ministry’s 1969 China map identifies Senkaku Islands by Japanese name


Staff Writer

The Foreign Ministry has published on its website a map released by a Chinese government organ in 1969 calling the disputed Senkaku Islands by their Japanese name.

The ministry’s website already had a Taiwanese map of 1970 using the same name.

Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said that putting the 1969 map on the website was aimed at showing both Japan and its neighbors have historically considered the island group in the East China Sea as Japanese territory.

Japan administers the islands, which it considers to be part of Okinawa Prefecture, but China and Taiwan both claim them, calling them Diaoyu and Tiaoyutai, respectively.

The map, created by the Chinese State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping in 1969, labels the uninhabited islets with Chinese characters that read “Senkaku Islands.” Uotsuri, the largest and westernmost island in the group, is also identified by its Japanese name.

The map “can be considered to have been created on the premise that the Senkaku Islands are part of Japanese territory,” Kishida told reporters Tuesday.

He added that the ministry is publishing the map on the Internet to show that China’s claim “has no foundation at all.”

The ministry’s website says China and Taiwan began claiming sovereignty over the islands for the first time in 1971 after a U.N. report in 1969 identified potential oil and gas reserves in the area.

The website also shows two maps taken from Taiwanese geography textbooks used in 1970 and 1971, with the former referring to the isles as the “Senkaku Islands” and the latter as the “Tiaoyutai Islands.”

Later in the day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei challenged the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

It is an undeniable fact that the islands belong to China, Hong said at a press conference, adding that a few maps will not overturn this fact.

Hong claimed that China’s sovereignty over the islands is based on historical evidence and principles of law.

He also said that it is possible to find hundreds or thousands of maps indicating the islands belong to China.

Information from Jiji added.

  • timefox

    New evidence is also besides this. China isn’t insisting on an official document before Sino-Japanese war about a possession right in Senkaku-shoto. This shows that Kiyokuni didn’t recognize Senkaku-shoto as a territory from Sino-Japanese war before.

  • justice_first

    After the first Sino Japanese War in 1895, Japan began to use the name of “Senkaku” from early 1900. China did not dispute the fact that the islands were occupied by Japan until 1945. If a Chinese map in 1969 called the islands Senkaku, for whatever reason, it was not surprising at all. However sovereignty is determined by history, war or valid international treaties like the Instrument of Surrender (of Japan) in 1945, not by a single map. Maps can be changed anytime.
    The Chinese spokesman was perhaps making a sarcastic statement when he said he could produce a hundred, or even a thousand maps to show China’s sovereignty. In a sense he is right because you can print a hundred or a thousand maps at will. After-all the Chinese map of 1969 did not clearly identify the islands as belonging to Japan. We must also remember that Japanese maps from 1945 to 1970 did not include the islands in Japanese territories.

    • kitty

      Senkaku was not on Japan’s map??? IT WAS included in Japan’s map 1945 up to now!!. EVEN the US map has the name ‘Senkaku’ I HAVE a US-made map issued in 1947 that specifies ‘Senkaku’ I also have a US-made map issued in 1952 that also shows the name ‘Senkaku’.

      • justice_first

        May be the US had maps showing the Senkaku Islands because they were appointed trustee of these islands. However for Japan, after signing the Instrument of Surrender, its sovereignty was reduced to the four main islands. This is why Japan could not claim the Senkaku, nor the Ryukyu, as its own territories. All Japanese School text books from 1945 to 1970 did not include the Senkaku as its national territories. Similarly the maps of Japan did not include Senkaku, until after 1972, after the reversion of Okinawa from the US. Please check.

  • justice_first

    Many of the maps from Taiwan and China, before 1970, were copied from Japanese colonial maps. Japan occupied Taiwan from 1895 to 1945, and indeed “most” of them were corrected and revised later to reflect the results of the second world war, from 1970. We must remember that from 1945 to 1970, the Senkaku Islands, named Diaoyu originally by the Chinese for about 5 centuries, were under the trusteeship of the US. China and Taiwan were not in a hurry to argue with the US over these islands, including Okinawa. But the revisions were necessary and correct by themselves, based on international law and the post war order. The US never objected to anyone of the revision. In fact from 1945 to 1970, Japan was not in any position to claim sovereignty of any islands outside the four main islands.

    If we saw the changes in many of the maps during that period, we should not be surprised. If China used some of the Japanese names in 1969, it should not be a problem because those islands were also known by their Japanese names after 1900. There is no political purpose in using the Japanese names, but only to reflect the historic truth.