I applaud The Japan Times’ courage in publishing Mark Valencia’s opinion piece “Hypocrisy in the South China Sea” in the July 22 edition. Indeed, I dare venture such hypocrisy and thereby lack of moral high ground is why no one has felt able to push for the enforcement of The Hague ruling.
In fact, The Hague ruling presents a great opportunity for Japan to set an example for the world in maritime rule of law — by rescinding Japan’s claims around Okinotorishima atoll, dismantling the illegal constructions around it, compensate the Taiwanese fishing boat it seized in the area last year and apologize to its captain whom Japan detained.
This is because if Japan accepts The Hague ruling that Taiwan-controlled Taiping in the South China Sea is an atoll, then Okinotorishima cannot be an island and therefore Japan can have no claim nor entitlement.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.