Japanese Territory

November 9, 2012

Senkaku Islands

Position Paper: Japan-China Relations
Surrounding the Situation of the Senkaku Islands

1. Introduction

・Japan attaches great importance to its relationship with neighboring China. Since 1972 when diplomatic relations were normalized, Japan has continuously and consistently supported the reform and door-opening policies that China has undertaken and has offered cooperation so that China can play a significant role in the international community. At the same time, Japan has made every effort to further develop the bilateral relations with China. In particular, Japan has made great contributions by taking the lead in providing assistance for and promoting investment in China as China pursued its economic openings. Japan has provided 45 billion dollars worth of official development assistance (ODA) to China since 1979 because of the importance Japan places on China's role on the global scene. Japan was also a strong supporter of China's accession to the WTO.

2. China's Attempt to Change the Existing Order

・Despite such developments in the bilateral relations, it is regrettable that the Japan-China relations currently face great tensions over the Senkaku Islands, which are an inherent part of the territory of Japan.

・China has been intensifying its maritime activities around the islands in recent years, especially since 2008. In light of such maritime activities by China, former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara announced last April his plan to purchase the Senkaku Islands and develop a variety of facilities on them. There is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent territory of Japan in light of historical facts and based upon international law, but from a broad perspective, in an effort to minimize any negative impact on the bilateral relations, the Government of Japan decided to purchase the islands and transferred the ownership of the islands from a private citizen to itself under domestic civil law.

・Nevertheless, this purchase decision has been met by an overreaction by China. China has been sending its government vessels to waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands which have repeatedly intruded into Japan's territorial waters. Most recently, large-scale anti-Japanese protests occurred in regions throughout China, resulting in violence towards Japanese nationals, as well as arson, destruction, and looting of Japanese-affiliated companies. Under no circumstances should act of violence be condoned. In addition, the Chinese Government is now making an argument, which is incorrect and entirely irrelevant to the Senkaku Islands, that Japan, defeated in World War II, is now attempting to overthrow the post-war international order against the will of the victors.

・Japan solemnly stands against any attempts to change the status quo by use of coercion or intimidation, any acts of violence, and any publicity which ruffles national sentiment.

3. Japan's Policy for Asia-Pacific

・Japan's basic position that the Senkaku Islands belong to Japan is unshakable. Japan actually exercises valid control over the islands. Japan's ally, the United States, is fully committed to the defense of the Senkaku Islands, administrated by Japan, in accordance with Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty.

・At the same time, Japan is committed to continue dealing with the current situation in a calm manner from a broad perspective. In fact, Japan will maintain close communications with China in an effort to ease tensions.

・Japan, as a peace-loving nation, has consistently made great contributions to peace and prosperity of Asia after World War II. This is indeed a hallmark of Japan supported by its people, and will never change. Japan is committed to contributing to peace and prosperity of the region as a responsible and democratic country in the Asia-Pacific region.

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