Japan readies huge island war games amid YouTube PR push – Senkaku islands / Diaoyus ( Major Escalation )

By Shigemi Sato

National Oct. 24, 2013 – 05:20PM JST


Destroyers, fighter jets and 34,000 troops will take part in a huge exercise aimed at bolstering Japan’s ability to protect its remote islands, the government said Thursday, amid a territorial dispute with China.

The war games, which will include live-firing, come as Tokyo steps up its global PR campaign by posting online videos it hopes will swing world opinion behind its claims to two archipelagos that are disputed with China and South Korea.

The air-sea-land drill from November 1-18 will involve amphibious landings on the uninhabited atoll of Okidaitojima, 400 kilometers southeast of the main Okinawan island, a defense ministry official said.

Live-fire exercises involving destroyers and F-2 fighter jets will also be conducted, he said.

The island is a considerable distance from the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, which China also claims as the Diaoyus.

However, defense force chiefs are considering deploying short-range land-to-sea missiles on the island of Ishigaki, which lies 150 kilometers from the disputed islands, the Asahi and Fuji TV networks said. Both broadcasters said there were no plans to fire weaponry there.

Chinese state-owned ships have sparred with Japanese coastguard boats repeatedly in waters around the Senkakus since Tokyo nationalised three islands in the chain last year.

Beijing’s boats have frequently been warned off after sailing into waters Japan considers its preserve.

Fighter jets and warships from both sides have also been in the area on numerous occasions, leading some observers to warn of the danger of an armed conflict that could draw in the United States and have disastrous consequences for the region.

November’s drill is aimed at “maintaining and improving the joint operational abilities of the Self-Defense Forces in armed-attack situations”, the Self Defense Forces joint staff said in a statement.

It will feature “a series of actions in defending islands” including joint operations in island landings, it said.

There have been similar drills in the past, including one in November 2011 that involved 35,000 troops.

In November last year, U.S. and Japanese forces held a joint drill involving 47,400 troops, the vast bulk from the Japanese side. But they reportedly cancelled an exercise to re-take a remote island in a bid to avoid irritating China.

Since Shinzo Abe became prime minister in December, however, Japan has taken a more robust stance.

In its latest volley, the foreign ministry has produced two 90-second videos stating its case for ownership of the two disputed island groups and posted them on its YouTube site.

Both videos are currently only in Japanese, but the ministry plans to provide versions in 10 other languages including Chinese and Korean.

“We are also preparing three other short movies on the Senkaku islands and one on the issue of Takeshima,” a ministry spokesman told AFP, referring to a pair of islets that South Korea controls as Dokdo.

“The new ones will be just 30 seconds in length and we hope they will be watched by smartphone and tablet users.”

The ministry has earmarked 120 million yen this fiscal year for the films and creating a YouTube channel, he said.

“It is important that the international community obtain correct understanding over situations surrounding Japan including territories,” he said.

Beijing and Seoul reacted angrily to the move, with Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying repeating the assertion that the East China Sea islands belong to Beijing.

“Whatever propaganda tools Japan employs to support its illegal claim, it will not change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China,” she said.

“We strongly urge the Japanese side to correct its attitude, stop all provocative words and actions and make concrete efforts for the proper management and resolution of the question of the Diaoyu Islands.”

South Korea lodged a formal protest over the video, calling in a senior Japanese embassy official to register disapproval on Wednesday.

Foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-Young said the protest noted the Japanese government’s attempt “to undermine our sovereignty over Dokdo by spreading groundless claims over the internet”.

Japan’s latest move, officials say, is in part a reaction to advertising efforts by China.

Two-page color ads saying “Diaoyu islands belong to China” appeared in the New York Times and the Washington Post last year.

(C) 2013 AFP



China warns Japan against stationing workers on disputed isles ” would not tolerate provocation “

National Sep. 11, 2013 – 06:55AM JST ( 45 )


China on Tuesday said it would not tolerate provocation after Japan’s top government spokesman said the country might station government workers on disputed islands in the East China Sea to defend its sovereignty.

Relations between the world’s second- and third-biggest economies, have been strained over the uninhabited isles which Japan controls but both countries claim. The isles are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China.

A year ago on Wednesday, the Japanese government bought three of the isles from a private owner, inflaming anger in China where there were big anti-Japan protests over the purchase.

Aircraft and ships from the two countries have played cat-and mouse in the vicinity of the islands ever since, raising fears that an accidental encounter could spark conflict.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, speaking on the eve of the anniversary, said it was “extremely regrettable” that Chinese government ships had repeatedly entered what he descried as Japan’s territorial waters.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was making “resolute but calm responses to defend our territory, territorial waters and airspace decisively”, he said.

“Our country will never make a concession on the matter of sovereignty,” he said.

Asked if Japan might station government workers on the islands, Suga said: “That is one option”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei expressed “serious concern” about his remarks.

“The Chinese government has an unshakeable resolve and determination to protect the country’s territorial sovereignty and will not tolerate any provocative acts of escalation over China’s sovereignty,” he told a daily news briefing.

“If the Japanese side recklessly makes provocative moves, it will have to accept the consequences.”

Relations between the neighbors have also been shadowed for years by what Beijing says has been Tokyo’s refusal to properly atone for wartime atrocities committed by Japanese soldiers in China between 1931 and 1945.

In the latest incident off the islands, seven Chinese patrol ships entered what Japan considers its territorial waters near them on Tuesday, Japan’s coast guard said.

Hong said it was a normal, routine mission.

On Monday, Japan scrambled fighter jets when it spotted what appeared to be an unmanned drone aircraft flying towards Japan over the East China Sea.

It was not clear what country the unidentified aircraft belonged to but Japan’s Foreign Ministry had made an inquiry about it with the Chinese side, Suga said.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Monday that Japan would be on guard for the first anniversary of Japan’s purchase of the islands.

“September 11 was the day when the flare-up of tension between Japan and China was triggered. I think a firm posture is being called for,” Onodera said.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka in TOKYO and Ben Blanchard in BEIJING; Editing by Nick Macfie)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.


Radioactive water at Fukushima an emergency / Contaminated water could rise to the ground’s surface within three weeks

Watchdog says radioactive water at Fukushima an emergency

By Antoni Slodkowski and Mari Saito

National Aug. 06, 2013 – 06:45AM JST ( 29 )


Highly radioactive water seeping into the ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is creating an “emergency” that the operator is struggling to contain, an official from the country’s nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, Shinji Kinjo, head of a Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) task force, told Reuters.

Countermeasures planned by Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) are only a temporary solution, he said.

TEPCO’s “sense of crisis is weak,” Kinjo said. “This is why you can’t just leave it up to TEPCO alone” to grapple with the ongoing disaster. “Right now, we have an emergency.”

TEPCO has been widely castigated for its failure to prepare for the massive 2011 tsunami and earthquake that devastated its Fukushima plant and lambasted for its inept response to the reactor meltdowns. It has also been accused of covering up shortcomings.

It was not immediately clear how much of a threat the  contaminated groundwater could pose. In the early weeks of the disaster, the Japanese government allowed TEPCO to dump tens of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific in an emergency move.

The toxic water release was however heavily criticized by neighboring countries as well as local fishermen and the utility has since promised it would not dump irradiated water without the consent of local townships.

“Until we know the exact density and volume of the water that’s flowing out, I honestly can’t speculate on the impact on the sea,” said Mitsuo Uematsu from the Center for International Collaboration, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute at the University of Tokyo.

“We also should check what the levels are like in the sea water. If it’s only inside the port and it’s not flowing out into the sea, it may not spread as widely as some fear.”

TEPCO said it is taking various measures to prevent contaminated water from leaking into the bay near the plant. In an e-mailed statement to Reuters, a company spokesman said TEPCO deeply apologized to residents in Fukushima prefecture, the surrounding region and the larger public for causing inconveniences, worries and trouble.

The utility pumps out some 400 tons a day of groundwater flowing from the hills above the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the basements of the destroyed buildings, which mixes with highly irradiated water that is used to cool the reactors in a stable state below 100 degrees Celsius.

TEPCO is trying to prevent groundwater from reaching the plant by building a “bypass” but recent spikes of radioactive elements in sea water has prompted the utility to reverse months of denials and finally admit that tainted water is reaching the sea.

In a bid to prevent more leaks into the bay of the Pacific Ocean, plant workers created the underground barrier by injecting chemicals to harden the ground along the shoreline of the No. 1 reactor building. But that barrier is only effective in solidifying the ground at least 1.8 meters below the surface.

By breaching the barrier, the water can seep through the shallow areas of earth into the nearby sea. More seriously, it is rising toward the surface – a break of which would accelerate the outflow.

“If you build a wall, of course the water is going to accumulate there. And there is no other way for the water to go but up or sideways and eventually lead to the ocean,” said Masashi Goto, a retired Toshiba Corp nuclear engineer who worked on several TEPCO plants. “So now, the question is how long do we have?”

Contaminated water could rise to the ground’s surface within three weeks, the Asahi Shimbun said on Saturday. Kinjo said the three-week timeline was not based on NRA’s calculations but acknowledged that if the water reaches the surface, “it would flow extremely fast.”

A TEPCO official said on Monday the company plans to start pumping out a further 100 tons of groundwater a day around the end of the week.

The regulatory task force overseeing accident measures of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which met Friday, “concluded that new measures are needed to stop the water from flowing into the sea that way,” Kinjo said.

TEPCO said on Friday that a cumulative 20 trillion to 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium had probably leaked into the sea since the disaster. The company said this was within legal limits.

Tritium is far less harmful than cesium and strontium, which have also been released from the plant. TEPCO is scheduled to test strontium levels next.

The admission on the long-term tritium leaks, as well as renewed criticism from the regulator, show the precarious state of the $11 billion cleanup and TEPCO’s challenge to fix a fundamental problem: How to prevent water, tainted with radioactive elements like cesium, from flowing into the ocean.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013.


Abe vows to expel by force any Chinese landing on disputed isles

National Apr. 23, 2013 – 01:20PM JST ( 3 )

Abe vows to expel by force any Chinese landing on disputed isles
A Chinese marine surveillance ship cruises near the disputed islets in the East China Sea.;AFP


Prime minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday vowed to “expel by force” any Chinese landing on disputed islands.

“We would take decisive action against any attempt to enter territorial waters and to land” on the islands, Abe told parliament in response to questions from lawmakers. “It would be natural for us to expel by force the Chinese if they were to make a landing.”

Abe made the remarks after eight Chinese government ships entered Japanese territorial waters near the islands on Tuesday, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago, the Japanese government said.

Japan’s coast guard confirmed the vessels had entered waters near the East China Sea island chain, while the government’s top spokesman said the flotilla was a one-day record since Tokyo’s nationalisation in September.

Japan summoned the Chinese ambassador in protest.

The maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku chain of islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, around 8 a.m., the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.

State-owned Chinese ships have frequently spent time around the five disputed islands, also claimed by Taiwan, in recent months.

“It is extremely deplorable and unacceptable that Chinese government ships are repeatedly entering Japanese territorial waters. We have made a firm protest against China both in Beijing and Tokyo,” Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

© 2013 AFP

Japan scrambled jets against China planes record 306 times in 12 months

National Apr. 18, 2013 – 08:15AM JST ( 29 )


Japan scrambled fighter jets in response to Chinese aircraft a record number of times in the year to March 2013, mostly after the nationalisation of disputed islands, the government said Wednesday.

Jets were sent airborne 306 times over the 12 months, double the previous year and more than the number of times they reacted to Russian planes—247—for the first time on record, the Defense Ministry said in a press release.

In September last year, the Japanese government bought three of the five Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, known and claimed as the Diaoyus in China.

More than three-quarters of the mobilisations against Chinese aircraft, a total of 237, were in the October to March period.

On December 13, a Y-12 turbo-prop plane from China’s State Oceanic Administration breached airspace over the disputed islands, prompting the launch of Japanese F-15s.

It was the first known incursion ever by a Chinese plane into Japanese airspace, the government said at the time.

State-owned Chinese ships have sailed close to the disputed islands dozens of times since September, sometimes moving into 12-nautical-mile territorial waters around them.

In recent years Russian fighter patrols near islands that Moscow and Tokyo both claim have been the most common cause of Japanese airborne responses.

© 2013 AFP

Japan seizes nuclear-related materials from N Korea cargo : ( Singapore-flagged ship )

Crime Mar. 19, 2013 – 06:50AM JST ( 5 )


Japan has seized aluminium alloy rods which can be used to make nuclear centrifuges from a Singapore-flagged ship which was carrying cargo from North Korea, a government spokesman said Monday.

The five rods were discovered on the ship during its call at Tokyo port last August and were confirmed to be aluminium alloy through tests conducted over the past six months, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga.

“The aluminium alloy is extremely strong and can be used in centrifuges, that are products related to nuclear development,” Suga told a regular news briefing.

The rods had been stored at a private warehouse and the Japanese government ordered the firm Monday to hand them over.

It was the first such handover under a special law passed in 2010 to enable Tokyo to inspect North Korea-related ships suspected of carrying materials that could be used in nuclear and missile programs.

According to media reports, the ship was on its way to Myanmar when it arrived in Tokyo via the Chinese port of Dalian.

The spokesman confirmed the ship arrived via Dalian but said only that the cargo was bound for a “third country”.

The North has conducted three nuclear weapons tests, in 2006, 2009 and last month, and disclosed in 2010 that it is developing a program to enrich uranium using centrifuges.

Such a program would give it a second way to produce material for atomic weapons, in addition to its longstanding plutonium program.

United Nations sanctions resolutions require member states to inspect cargo suspected to be linked to the North’s nuclear development.

Myanmar was suspected of pursuing military and nuclear cooperation with North Korea during long years of junta rule which ended in 2011 in the Southeast Asian state.

But the White House said last November the nation had taken “positive steps” to reduce its military relationship with the North.

© 2013 AFP



China stands firm on islands: Tokyo must “shoulder all consequences” if it prompts any friction by using military vessels and planes to harass regular Chinese patrols








Zhang Yunbi and Ding Qingfen


China Daily


Publication Date : 03-03-2013


Tokyo must “shoulder all consequences” if it prompts any friction by using military vessels and planes to harass regular Chinese patrols around the Diaoyu Islands, a Chinese official warned on Saturday, as tension over territorial dispute continued.


Lyu Xinhua, the newly appointed spokesman for the first session of the 12th National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks in his debut briefing in response to a question from China Daily regarding the islands situation.


Beijing urged Tokyo to stop any territory infringement, especially “irresponsible remarks” by Japanese leaders, and make significant efforts in improving relations, the spokesman said.


Yang Bojiang, an expert on Japanese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the spokesman’s remark signals a solemn warning against Tokyo’s recent provocations, as “in the past year, Japan has taken initiatives at every key timing to escalate the islands situation”.


The Japanese government last September illegally “purchased” part of the islands, a move that has dramatically strained Sino-Japanese ties.

Beijing has enhanced regular patrols around the islands since, and in December Japan scrambled fighter jets in an effort to prevent China Marine Surveillance aircraft from flying.


Chinese officials have also charged that Japan tarnished the image of the Chinese military by spreading groundless allegations about the so-called radar targeting a Japanese gunboat by China.


Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in a policy speech on Thursday to his country’s lower legislative house, cited the alleged ‘radar lock-on’ incident as “a dangerous move that may escalate the situation”.


Liu Jiangyong, an expert on Japanese studies and deputy dean of the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University, said Japan has broadcast its baseless allegations against China to induce the international community to step up pressure on China.


“Consensus has been reached within Japan that blaming China and hyping the threat of China can help the government win more domestic public support,” Liu said.


As a peace-loving country, China will not incite trouble, “nor will it be afraid of any troublemakers”, said Lyu, the spokesman of the top political advisory body’s annual session.


“We will never back down on issues related to China’s territorial sovereignty,” Lyu said.


During Abe’s latest trip to Washington in late February, his appeal for greater support from Washington received a cold response from President Barack Obama on issues regarding the dispute and policies toward China.


Wang Fan, assistant president of the China Foreign Affairs University, warned that some key territorial issues, including the Diaoyu Islands dispute, have been utilized as “bargaining chips” to rein in China.


“Some countries are resorting to territorial issues to derail China’s steady pace of development and even prompt it to change its peaceful development strategy,” Wang warned.


The spokesman confirmed that diplomatic communications have continued between Beijing and Tokyo in an ongoing effort to manage the crisis.


China has been hyped as a threat to neighbours, but China has never posed a threat in its defense positions, Wang said, and it is “never a stumbling block but a protector” of navigation freedom in the region.


“It is also necessary to clarify that China has shown consistency in guarding sovereignty in the past century, and this has nothing to do with the rising strength of the country,” Wang said.


Meanwhile, analysts predicted that it is unlikely for Tokyo, in the near future, to change its stance on the islands dispute.


As the Japanese upper house election will probably be held in July, coming out on top in the power reshuffle is the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s top priority. That means Tokyo will give little ground while trying to pit its strength against Beijing, Yang Bojiang said.


“We are still unlikely to see major conflict between China and Japan taking place over the islands, as China has upheld dialogue as the best option while the US has told Japan to act calmly,” Liu Jiangyong said .


The sessions of the National People’s Congress, which is China’s legislature, and the National Committee of the CPPCC, the top political advisory body, will open on Tuesday and Sunday, respectively


Japan protests to China after a Japanese navy ship was targeted by guided missile radar

Japan protests to China after radar pointed at vessel

Reuters Tuesday, Feb 05, 2013

TOKYO – A Chinese vessel pointed a type of radar normally used to help guide missiles at a Japanese navy ship near disputed East China Sea islets, prompting the Japanese government to lodge a protest with China, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Tuesday.

The incident happened on Jan 30, the defence minister later said.

A long-simmering row over the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China, has in recent months escalated to the point where both have scrambled fighter jets while patrol ships shadow each other in nearby seas.

Concern that the increasing cat-and-mouse encounters between aircraft or ships will cause an accidental clash are giving impetus to efforts to dial down tension, including a possible leaders’ summit.

But while hopes have emerged of a thaw in the chill that began when Japan bought the islands from a private citizen last September, deep mistrust and pumped up nationalism complicated by bitter Chinese memories of Japan’s wartime aggression mean any rapprochement would likely be fragile.



China ‘highly vigilant’ over Japanese fighters flying over disputed islands

AFP Thursday, Dec 27, 2012

BEIJING – China is “highly vigilant” about Japanese jet fighter flights over islands claimed by both countries and Japan must bear responsibility for any consequences, Chinese military and maritime officials said on Thursday.

The officials, speaking a day after a new hawkish Japanese prime minister took office, were responding to Japan sending jet fighters several times in the past two weeks to intercept Chinese patrol planes approaching airspace above the islands.

The situation in the volatile East China Sea region has severely strained relations between Beijing and Tokyo.

“We will decisively fulfil our tasks and missions while coordinating with relevant departments…so as to safeguard China’s maritime law enforcement activities and protect the country’s territorial integrity and maritime rights,” Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference.

Japan’s Defence Ministry has acknowledged scrambling F-15 jets on several occasions in recent weeks to intercept Chinese marine surveillance planes approaching the islands, called the Diaoyu in Chinese and the Senkaku by Japan.

It says a Chinese aircraft breached what it considers Japanese airspace for the first time on Dec. 13.

The Japanese government administers the islands and purchased three of them from a private owner this past summer, sparking violent anti-Japanese protests across China.

New Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promised not to yield in the dispute over the islands and boost defence spending to counter Beijing’s growing military clout.

“The Japanese side is using military aircraft to interfere with planes on normal patrol in undisputed Chinese airspace,”said Shi Qingfeng, director general of the Administration Office

of the State Oceanic Administration, the agency whose ships patrol disputed waters in the South and East China Seas.

“This is highly unreasonable conduct and the Japanese side is consciously trying to escalate the situation,” Shi said at a presentation for Chinese media and diplomats. “The Japanese side must assume responsibility for the consequences.”

China has been increasingly flexing its military and political influence in the western Pacific, forcefully asserting territorial claims while it builds up its military forces.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the South China Sea.

To China’s east, the island conflict with Japan has led to tense confrontations in the waters around the islands.

“China-Japan defence relations are an important and sensitive part of bilateral ties, and the Japanese side should face up to the difficulties and problems that currently exist,”Yang said.



Japan scrambles fighter jets after Chinese plane seen near disputed islands

News On Japan via CNN — Dec 14

Japan scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese plane was seen Thursday near small islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by both countries.

This is the first time the dispute over the islands, which Japan calls Senkaku and China refers to as Diaoyu, has involved aircraft.Chinese government ships have repeatedly entered the waters around the remote, rocky islands since the Japanese government announced in September it was buying several of the islands from private owners.Japanese Coast Guard vessels have engaged in games of cat and mouse with the Chinese ships, with both sides broadcasting messages to one another insisting they have territorial sovereignty over the area.

On Thursday morning, a Japanese Coast Guard patrol vessel spotted the Chinese government plane in airspace around the islands, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said.

Japanese Self Defense Force sent four F-15 jets and another aircraft to the area, Fujimura said.


China warns of strong measures in Japan island spat

Politics Oct. 27, 2012 – 06:20AM JST( 9 )


China reserves the right to take strong countermeasures if Japan “creates incidents” in the waters around a group of disputed uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, a Chinese vice foreign minister said on Friday.

“We are watching very closely what action Japan might take regarding the Diaoyu islands and their adjacent waters,” Zhang Zhijun said at an unusual late night news briefing. “The action that Japan might take will shape China’s countermeasures.”

Sino-Japanese relations took a dive after the Japanese government bought the islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, from a private Japanese owner in September, triggering violent protests and calls for boycotts of Japanese products across China.

“If Japan continues down its current wrong path and takes more erroneous actions and creates incidents regarding the Diaoyu Islands and challenges China, China will definitely take strong measures to respond to that,” Zhang said.

“There is no lack of countermeasures China might take in response,” he added.

“We have the confidence and the ability to uphold the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. No amount of foreign threats or pressure will shake the resolve of the Chinese government and people.”

Following Japan’s purchase of the islands, China sent fishery patrol and marine surveillance vessels to waters near the islets, raising concern that confrontation with Japanese patrol ships could escalate into a broader conflict.

Senior Japanese and Chinese diplomats have met to discuss a dispute over East China Sea islets that both countries claim, the Japanese government said on Wednesday, underscoring willingness to talk despite a sharp deterioration in ties.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura confirmed talks between Tokyo and Beijing after domestic media reported that Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai secretly met senior Chinese officials, including his counterpart, Zhang Zhijun, in Shanghai last week to discuss the dispute.

Zhang did not indicate that those talks had made any progress.

“In all levels of contact with the Japanese side, the Chinese side presented China’s stern position and steely resolve to uphold China’s sovereignty. We urge the Japanese side to give up its illusions and correct its mistakes,” he said.

“Only this way can we return to normal relations.”

China says the islands have been part of the country since ancient times. Taiwan also claims them.

The row with China, the world’s second-largest economy and Japan’s largest trading partner, has prompted the Bank of Japan to cut its outlook for economies in the region.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012.


Japan Takes Action Against Complex Cyber Threats

Oct. 9, 2012 – 11:46AM   |

In the year since a sophisticated cyber attack on Japan’s largest military contractor unleashed a flood of revelations about the vulnerability of the country’s most sensitive technical data, cybersecurity has vaulted onto the country’s national security agenda.

In August 2011, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries discovered viruses on its systems in 11 locations across Japan, including in plants that build many of the nation’s missiles, military helicopters, fighter jets, rockets, submarines and nuclear power reactors. Some 45 servers and 38 PCs were infected by at least eight types of viruses when employees unwittingly opened emails containing malware. The company, also Japan’s lead contractor for the SM-3 Block IIA missile being built with the U.S. and for 38 of Japan’s F-35s, sat on the news. When local media brought the attacks to light the following month, the Ministry of Defense rebuked Mitsubishi for failing to immediately inform the ministry of any security breach.

Yet the Mitsubishi stories were just the start of a stunning wave of revelations about similar attacks on other leading companies and institutions. IHI Corp. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, both major space and military contractors, soon confirmed they had been targeted. In late October, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura admitted the foreign ministry and several Japanese embassies had been under attack since June. Just after that, it was revealed that computers and servers used by three members of Japan’s Lower House had been hacked.

The bad news has continued into 2012. In April, Nissan reported malware and data breaches in its global network; in June, the group known as Anonymous hacked the finance and transport ministries’ Web pages, forcing the finance ministry to reveal that 123 of its desktop computers had been infected with a remote-access Trojan in 2010 and 2011.

The attacks have been getting more sophisticated, said Motohiro Tsuchiya, a professor at Keio University and member of the Information Security Policy Council, Japan’s top-level government cybersecurity advisory body.

“The recent tactic has been attacking peripheral institutions with lower security and then getting in behind the lower barriers — for example, by attacking think tanks. When this … started, everyone knew something was wrong,” Tsuchiya said.

Instead of brute-force denial-of-service and similar techniques, attacks against the Japanese government and the defense industry increasingly take the form of sophisticated targeted email messages carrying malware.

“In 2010-11, we saw emails mimicking legitimate email addresses, and the attachment files are no longer just [executable] files but also PDFs,” said Masahiro Uemura, who directs the office of IT security policy at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, known as METI.

In 2011, such attacks accounted for one-third of all recorded attacks, a record, Uemura said. Worse, he said, attackers appear to be focusing on Japan’s infrastructure, especially control systems such as those used in power plants and the manufacturing industry. He said nearly 37 percent of infrastructure-related control systems are connected to the outside, and the vast majority has only perimeter security measures, Uemura said.

The flood of attacks has galvanized government action on cybersecurity policy domestically and internationally.

In October 2011, METI set up the Initiative for Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership of Japan, which brings the country’s strategic sectors together to share information on cyber attacks and policy. Nine of the country’s top defense companies are members.

“Our minister personally asked us last fall to set up this initiative to protect our most critical industries. The attack on Mitsubishi was the trigger,” Uemura said.

Tsuchiya said the attacks jolted the Information Security Policy Council, which had rarely met since the Democratic Party of Japan came to power in 2009 with little policy focus on cybersecurity. This summer, the senior advisory board released Information Security 2012, which describes how the government might work with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure. The report suggested setting up large-scale attack drills with operators from nuclear plants, the gas distribution network and telecommunications; urging defense contractors to better ward off attacks and share information with the government; and implement measures to protect smartphones from viruses.

Meanwhile, the prime minister’s Cabinet Secretariat is now coordinating government policy much more actively. After the Anonymous attacks, for example, the Cabinet Secretariat set up an emergency support team to make better preparations against cyber attacks on government organizations.

The attacks also jump-started Japanese efforts to reach out to the U.S. and other foreign partners. In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs replaced a lower-level body with a Cyber Task Force under the control of Ambassador Tamotsu Shinotsuka. Ministry documents show the new group has five policy units: international rule-making, cyber crime, system security and protection, economic issues and national cybersecurity.

Still, Tsuchiya said, “The foreign affairs ministry hadn’t really been focused on cybersecurity, but this changed this year when [Minister of Foreign Affairs Koichiro] Gemba showed up at the June ISPC meeting. It was the first time any foreign minister had attended.”

Now, he said, international cooperation, especially with the U.S., is high on the agenda. Cooperation is now written into the U.S.-Japan security alliance. In April, a joint statement by the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee announced Tokyo’s intention to join the Convention of Cybercrime and to strengthen bilateral cooperation, critical infrastructure, system-security control, incident management and operational cooperation.

Most importantly for Uemura, he said his department now meets regularly with counterparts in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to discuss coordination and address U.S. concerns on defense product issues. The partners are working toward an information-sharing security framework that may be announced in the coming months.

The ministry’s main policy is to promote international rule-making and norms setting in line with U.S. and European policies, according to one ministry official. The official cited U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague’s February 2011 “Seven Principles” speech at the Munich Security Conference as one of the key references for Japanese policy and said Japan supports the promotion of the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crime.

Tsuchiya said the foreign ministry is working to promote international rules in line with U.S. and European policy to form international norms of behavior at the International Conference on Cyberspace in Budapest in October.

Significantly, Gemba has laid out a tentative Japanese policy on the right of self-defense against cyber attacks, an interpretation that theoretically paves the way for Japan to take defensive action. While it does not go as far as the U.S. Defense Department’s 2011 announcement that the U.S. may treat cyber attacks as “acts of war,” the Japanese government for the first time has recognized cyberspace as a national security domain, just like land, sea, air and outer space.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defense is beefing up its capabilities. The ministry, which created its first cybersecurity unit in 2000 and added the C4 Systems Command to protect its Defense Information Infrastructure data network, has about 380 people devoted to cybersecurity, said Koji Yoshino, the principal deputy director of the ministry’s Defense Programming and Planning Division.

The ministry’s baseline for cybersecurity and information exchange with the U.S. is based on an April 2006 memorandum of understanding that asks both sides to increase their capability against cyber attacks. After a CD-ROM containing classified Aegis radar data went missing in 2007, a new agreement was made leading to a bilateral agreement requiring Japan to tighten its military information security policies.

The focus on information security has been deepened further by the two countries’ cooperation on ballistic missile defense, which requires sharing information from Aegis ships, Patriot missile batteries and other sensors.

In the past two years, Yoshino said, the ministry has added a cyber planning coordinator to the Joint Staff Office, worked to drill people on responding to attacks, and begun developing tools to gather and analyze information about the latest attacks. It has also improved cyber analysis at Japan’s signals intelligence agency, called Defense Intelligence Headquarters and modeled after the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, he said.

This year, the C4SC added tools to improve information collection and dynamic and static analysis, particularly of malware, said Keiichi Sakashita, who directs the Information Assurance Office.

In September, the ministry’s cyber defense strategy took two steps forward. First, the ministry requested 21.2 billion yen ($270 million) to set up a new cyber defense force with about 100 people, which will combine the ministry’s previous efforts to create its own version of a Japanese Cyber Command, along with 13.3 billion yen to reinforce cyber defense of the ministry’s core Defense Information Infrastructure.

Tsuchiya applauded the move.

“The MoD has been trying for two years to set up the unit, but the attempts were refused by the finance ministry,” he said.

Second, the ministry is now writing doctrine on responding to a cyber attack, said Tetsuya Ito, who directs the strategic planning office of the ministry’s Defense Policy Division.

In September, a ministry panel released new guidelines for dealing with cyber attacks and affirming Japan’s right to respond.

“If a cyber attack takes place as part of a military attack, this can be considered to fulfill the first condition for invoking the right of self-defense,” said a report issued by the panel.



Japan may ‘acknowledge’ China’s claim to islets to calm tension

*Engineering Evil: Would like 2nd Confirmation on this claim, before validating it.
.This article has now been updated…Please refer to  the link
Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

Japan is considering plans to calm tensions with China by acknowledging that Beijing is claiming sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands while maintaining its position that no official territorial dispute exists, sources said Tuesday.

The nuanced plan would allow Japan, without changing its long-held position, to offer a small compromise to China, which has called on Tokyo to acknowledge the existence of the dispute.

It is uncertain whether China would respond positively to such an overture, according to the sources.

The source of the current rupture in relations is the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the islets from a Saitama man despite China’s strong calls to rescind the deal. The government says the move was aimed at maintaining the uninhabited islands in a stable manner.

In a meeting with a delegation of Japanese lawmakers and business leaders in Beijing late last month, Jia Qinglin, a senior Communist Party of China official, urged Japan to recognize the existence of the territorial dispute.

“Japan should realize the seriousness of the current situation, squarely face the disputes over the Diaoyu Islands and correct its mistake as soon as possible, so as to avoid further damaging China-Japan ties,” the No. 4 man in the party was quoted by China’s official Xinhua news agency as saying in the meeting.

Tokyo interpreted his remark as suggesting that the Chinese government has adopted the goal of making Japan acknowledge the existence of a territorial dispute, without altering its position that Japan must rescind its purchase of the islets, the sources said.

Such an interpretation has led Japan to begin considering what can be done to remove obstacles that have prevented easing the current tension.

Japan has kept in mind the 1972 Japan-China joint communique, in which China said Taiwan is an inalienable part of its territory. Japan promised then that it “fully understands and respects” the Chinese stance, a move that allowed Japan not to express clearly its own position on the sovereign status of Taiwan.

In the case of the Senkaku Islands, Tokyo would only “acknowledge” Chinese claims to the islets given that if Japan makes clear that it “fully understands and respects” them, it might be construed by China as acknowledging the existence of a territorial dispute between the two countries.

The current clash flared up after the Japanese government purchased the three islets in mid-September to prevent nationalist Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara from having the metropolitan government buy them.

China says the islets are an inherent part of its territory. They are also claimed by Taiwan.


China to UN: Japan ‘stole’ islands

Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, leading China’s delegation at the UN General Assembly, spoke Thursday, a day after a speech in which the Japanese prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, didn’t mention the Diaoyu Islands. Yang said Beijing will “continue to take firm measures” to safeguard the Diaoyus’ territorial sovereignty. Tension has escalated since the Japanese government in early September announced the purchase of the islands from a so-called private owner.


Yuwei Zhang
Derek Bosko
Photo Research:
Wei Yu
Supervising Producer:
Calvin Zhou
Senior Producer:
Larry Lee, Ji Tao

Chinese General: Prepare for Combat with Japan

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

China’s most powerful military leader, in an unusual public statement, last week ordered military forces to prepare for combat, as Chinese warships deployed to waters near disputed islands and anti-Japan protests throughout the country turned violent.

Protests against the Japanese government’s purchase of three privately held islands in the Senkakus chain led to mass street protests, the burning of Japanese flags, and attacks on Japanese businesses and cars in several cities. Some carried signs that read “Kill all Japanese,” and “Fight to the Death” over disputed islands. One sign urged China to threaten a nuclear strike against Japan.

Gen. Xu Caihou, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, considered the most senior military political commissar, said Friday that military forces should be “prepared for any possible military combat,” state run Xinhua news agency reported.

Heightened tensions over the Senkakus come as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in China Monday.

Panetta, in comments made in Japan shortly before traveling to China, said, “We are concerned by the demonstrations, and we are concerned by the conflict that is taking place over the Senkaku islands.”

“The message I have tried to convey is we have to urge calm and restraint on all sides,” he said, noting any “provocation” could produce a “blow up.”

Panetta repeated the U.S. position that it is neutral in the dispute over Japan’s Senkaku islands, a small chain of islets located south of Okinawa and north of Taiwan. But he also reaffirmed the U.S. defense commitment to Japan, a treaty ally.

“We stand by our treaty obligations,” Panetta said, echoing a similar commitment made during a 2010 standoff between Beijing and Tokyo over the Senkakus. ”They’re longstanding, and that has not changed.”

China claims the islands as its territory and calls them the Diaoyu islands.

Last week, following the Japanese government’s purchase of three of the Senkakus from private Japanese owners, six Chinese maritime security ships were deployed near the Senkaku islands, further heightening tensions.


Japan-related book publishing ‘banned’ in Beijing

Staff writer

Intensifying political tensions have begun to affect a wider range of Japan-related businesses in China through an apparent ban on book publishing in Beijing that may spread to other areas, Japanese publishing sources said Wednesday.

The sources said several Chinese publishers in Beijing were notified by authorities Friday that they must halt the planned publication of books written by Japanese or protected by Japanese copyrights, and books related to Japan that are being written by Chinese authors.

The ban will also affect cultural exchange events, copyright trading with Japan and the promotion of Japan-related books in the country, they said.

However, further details — including whether all Chinese publishers are being banned and for how long — remain unclear.

“Some Chinese publishers say small private publishers are banned and others say state-run publishers are banned,” said one Japanese publishing source who was told about the order by several Chinese publishers.

Tensions between Japan and China heightened last week after the Japanese government nationalized the Senkaku Islands, known in China as Diaoyu.

Anti-Japan protesters damaged plants run by Panasonic Corp. and dealerships run by Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co., and stores run by Aeon Co. and Heiwado & Co


State newspaper China Daily: That open war with Japan should be a last resort

China to cripple Japan with financial war over isles row?

Published: 19 September, 2012, 15:19

A Chinese demonstrator shouts slogans during a protest against Japan’s “nationalizing” of Diaoyu Islands, also known as Senkaku in Japan, in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang province, on Septermber 18, 2012. (AFP Photo)

China may introduce economic measures to cripple Japan in order to gain the upper hand in a territorial row. Following violent anti-Japanese protests and increasingly bellicose rhetoric, Beijing could employ sanctions to subdue its neighbor.

State newspaper China Daily wrote that China should take “strong countermeasures” in light of the “ridiculous” Japanese nationalization of the isles, called the Diaoyu by the Chinese.

The paper suggests that while open war should be a last resort the country should be pursuing sanctions to respond to what it sees as Japanese “provocation.” Citing the freeze on banana imports when the Philippines contested the Huangyan Islands in April, the publication said “it is important for China to devise a sanction plan against Japan that would cause minimum loss to Chinese enterprises.”

“Japanese companies earn huge profits from their exports to China. That means China is in a lot better position to afford a loss in exports,” wrote Jin Baisong from the Chinese Academy of International Trade. In this way he stipulated that China could deal a heavy blow to the Japanese economy without doing significant damage to its own. “Japan should reconsider its financial health. In other words, with Japan’s national debt at stake… And China can use it to find ways to impose sanctions on Japan in the most effective manner,” said the article.

Tensions have reached boiling point over the territorial disputes that triggered the outbreak of mass anti-Japanese riots throughout China over the last week. Japan provoked Chinese ire when it announced a plan to buy the contested islands from their private Japanese owner last Tuesday.

“The farce of buying the Diaoyu Islands seriously violates China’s territorial sovereignty and severely hurts the feelings of the Chinese people, which have aroused strong indignation and opposition across the nation,” said a spokesman from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Japan has already felt some financial backlash from the riots that have gripped China over the last few days. Attacks on Japanese brands like Panasonic and Toyota have caused some companies to cease operations until further notice.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is currently in China to discuss the escalating dispute between the Asian nations. He met with China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping, agreeing to strengthen military ties between the two countries.

Following the meeting Panetta emphasized the fact the US military’s planned shift into the Pacific was not a threat to China.

“Our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region is not an attempt to contain China. It is an attempt to engage China and expand its role in the Pacific,” Panetta said in a speech at the Engineering Academy of PLA.

Broaching the subject of the US-Japanese missile signed on Monday, Panetta said that the new defense radar to be built on Japanese territory was aimed specifically at North Korea and is “designed to foster peace and stability in the region.”

In spite of the US’s claim to neutrality in the conflict between China and Japan, the Japanese government said it had been “mutually agreed” that the islands came under the US-Japanese security pact.

But Professor Shujie Yao, an economics professor at Nottingham University in the UK, told RT that most Chinese people will not trust the US promise that the Japanese missile deal is of no threat to China.

“I think the Americans have lost the trust of the Chinese mind, most Chinese people consider that America might be a fairly good economic ally, but not a political or diplomatic one, and the ideological differences between China and the United States make the Chinese believe that all America is trying to do is make trouble for China,” he said.

Author and analyst Ryan Dawson told RT the conflict was unlikely to resolve itself soon given that China “have a lot of other reasons to flog this issue and draw it out.”

Addressing the claims made on the islands by both nations, he said they “have nothing to do with land or ancient maps, it’s because oil and natural gas have been discovered under the islands.”

“They are not going to go to war; there is no other result than Senkaku [the Japanese name for the islands] is going to be Japanese and people in China are going to be really angry,” concluded Dawson.


Senkaku / Diaoyu Island Dispute Intensifies. China and Japan both claiming provocation

Anti-Japan protests reignite across China on occupation anniversary

By Ben Blanchard and Antoni Slodkowski | Reuters – 3 hrs ago

BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) – Anti-Japan protests reignited across China on Tuesday, the sensitive anniversary marking Tokyo’s occupation of its giant neighbor, escalating a maritime dispute which has forced major Japanese firms to suspend business there.

              Relations between Asia’s two biggest economies have faltered badly, with emotions running high on the streets and also out at sea where two Japanese activists landed on an island at the center of the dispute.

              China reacted swiftly to the news of the landing, which risked inflaming a crisis that already ranks as China’s worst outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in decades. Beijing described the landing as provocative, lodged a complaint with Tokyo and said it reserved the right to take further action.

Japan’s coastguard said three Chinese maritime surveillance ships briefly entered what Japan considers its territorial waters around the disputed islets on Tuesday, further raising tensions, although they and seven other nearby ships had left the area by late evening. It was the second such incident since Friday, when six ships briefly entered the waters.

              The dispute over the uninhabited group of islands in the East China Sea – known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China – led to another day of protests in China that were accompanied by heavy security.

Japanese businesses shut hundreds of stores and factories across China and Japan’s embassy in Beijing again came under siege by protesters throwing water bottles, waving Chinese flags and chanting anti-Japan slogans evoking war-time enmity.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda urged Beijing again to protect Japanese citizens in China.

              For China, Tuesday marks the day Japan began its occupation of parts of mainland China in 1931.

“Today is our day of shame,” said a Beijing protester, Wei Libing, a waiter in his 40s.

“Wipe out all Japanese dogs,” read one banner held up by one of thousands of protesters marching on the embassy, which was ringed by riot police standing six rows deep. Japan’s foreign ministry said some embassy windows had been smashed.

Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by China’s bitter memories of Japan’s military aggression in the 1930s and 1940s and present rivalry over resources – the islands are believed to be surrounded by energy-rich waters.

Rowdy protests sprang up in other major cities including Shanghai, raising the risk they could get out of hand and backfire on Beijing, which has given tacit approval to them through state media. One Hong Kong newspaper said some protesters in the southern city of Shenzhen had been detained for calling for democracy and human rights.


U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, visiting China to promote stronger Sino-U.S. military ties, again called for calm and restraint. Washington has said it will not take sides.

China said it wanted a peaceful outcome. “We still hope for a peaceful and negotiated solution to this issue and we hope to work together and work well with the Japanese government,” Defence Minister Liang Guanglie said after meeting Panetta.

              Well-known Japanese firms have been targeted by protesters, with car makers Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co halting some operations after attacks on their outlets, although Nissan Motor Co said it would resume work on Wednesday after a two-day halt.

              Other Japanese companies – from Mazda Motor Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp to Panasonic Corp and Fast Retailing Co – also shut plants and stores in China, sending Japanese share prices falling and prompting a warning from credit rating agency Fitch that the situation could hurt some auto and tech firms’ creditworthiness.

Japan’s top general retailer, Seven & I Holdings, said it will resume business at all its 13 Ito Yokado supermarkets and 198 “7-11” convenience stores in the cities of Beijing and Chengdu on Wednesday.

Some firms recalled workers back to Japan due to the unrest.

“The situation on the ground in China is not so good and I was advised by the locals not to go out. I couldn’t get any work done,” Japanese expatriate Hisato Takase said on arrival at Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

Japanese restaurants, a common target of protesters, barred their doors while many Japanese expatriates stayed home.

Tuesday’s brief landing by two Japanese nationals on one of the disputed islands, reported by Japan’s coast guard, has raised fears of a direct clash in an area being patrolled by ships from both nations.

“The unlawful landing of the Japanese right-wingers on the Chinese territory of the Diaoyu islands was a gravely provocative action violating Chinese territorial sovereignty,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a statement.

The activists briefly landed on one of the islands, having paddled up to it in a rubber raft and swam ashore before returning to the boat, Japanese broadcaster NHK said.

A flotilla of around 1,000 Chinese fishing boats is also reported by Chinese and Japanese media to be heading to the area.

In 2010, a bilateral crisis over the islands erupted after a fishing boat collided with a Japanese coast guard vessel.

The long-standing territorial dispute erupted again last week when the Japanese government decided to buy some of the islands from a private Japanese owner.

Political analysts say China also upped the stakes last week when it announced precise boundaries for waters it claims around the islands, a move sure to raise pressure on Beijing to act when it accuses Japanese vessels of violating those boundaries.

The dispute has sent China-exposed Japanese stocks down heavily on the Tokyo stock market, raising concerns about any wider impact on economic and trade ties between the two countries.  Platinum prices also fell, partly on the disruption to Japanese car plants in China, traders said. The precious metal is used as an auto catalyst.

              China, the world’s second-largest economy, and Japan, the third-largest, have total two-way trade of around $345 billion.

              There is no talk of Japanese firms withdrawing investment from China but some experts believe anti-Japan sentiment could prompt firms to rethink China investments in the longer term.

              (Additional reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka, Tim Kelly, Linda Sieg and Hern Shinn Cheng in TOKYO, Kazunori Takada, John Ruwitch and Carlos Barria in SHANGHAI, James Pomfret in GUANGZHOU, and Michael Martina, Sui-Lee Wee, Max Duncan and Chris Buckley in BEIJING; Writing by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Nick Macfie and David Stamp

Japanese ex-pats in hiding in China and workers urged to stay indoors as fury over islands dispute grows

  • Violent attacks on Japanese companies such  as Toyota and Honda
  • Dispute could damage trade ties between  Asia’s two biggest economies
  • Disagreement flared after Japanese  government bought island from  private owner

By Phil Vinter

PUBLISHED:07:40 EST, 17  September 2012| UPDATED:09:48 EST, 17 September 2012


Japanese factories have been forced to  temporarily close in China and expatriate workers advised to stay indoors after  angry protests over ownership of islands in the East China Sea spilled on to the  streets.

Over the weekend in China there have been  violent attacks on well-known Japanese businesses such as car-makers Toyota and  Honda in the country’s worst outbreak of  anti-Japan sentiment in  decades.

The dispute over  the islands, known as the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China, now threatens to seriously damage trade ties between  Asia’s two biggest economies with Chinese state media warning that trade  relations are in jeopardy.


Protesters march during an anti-Japan protest in Shenzhen in south China's Guangdong province yesterdayProtesters march during an anti-Japan protest in  Shenzhen in south China’s Guangdong province yesterday – they are angry about  Japan’s ‘nationalizing’ of the disputed Diaoyu Islands

The long-standing dispute erupted last week when the Japanese government decided to buy some of the islands from a private Japanese ownerThe long-standing dispute erupted last week when the  Japanese government decided to buy some of the islands from a private Japanese  owner

‘I’m not going out today and I’ve asked  my  Chinese boyfriend to be with me all day tomorrow,’ said Sayo  Morimoto, a  29-year-old Japanese graduate student at a university in  Shenzhen.

Japanese housewife and mother Kayo Kubo, who  lives in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, said her young family and other  Japanese expats were also staying home after being terrified by the scale and  mood of the weekend protests in dozens of cities.


‘There were so many people and I’ve never  seen anything like it. It was very scary,’ she said.

China and Japan, which generated two-way  trade of $345 billion last year, are arguing over a group of uninhabited islands  in the East China Sea, a long-standing dispute that erupted last week when the  Japanese government decided to buy some of them from a private Japanese  owner.

The move, which infuriated Beijing,  was  intended by Japan’s government to fend off what it feared would be  seen as an  even more provocative plan by the nationalist governor of  Tokyo to buy and  build facilities on the islands.

A demonstrator throwing back a tear gas bottle during a protest against Japan's 'nationalizing' of the disputed Diaoyu Islands, also known as Senkaku Islands in JapanA protestor hurls a tear gas bottle back at police  during the weekend’s violent scuffles which included attacks on well-known  Japanese businesses such as car-makers Toyota and Honda


A demonstrator throwing flowerpots towards the police as thousands of protesters took to the streets on SaturdayA demonstrator throws flowerpots towards the police as  thousands of protesters take to the streets

A Chinese policeman emerges from a closed Japanese restaurant covered with Chinese national flags and banners saying 'it is Chinese-owned'A Chinese policeman emerges from a closed Japanese  restaurant covered with Chinese national flags and banners saying ‘it is  Chinese-owned’

In response, China sent six  surveillance  ships to the area, which contains potentially large gas  reserves.

Today a flotilla of around 1,000 Chinese  fishing boats  were sailing for the islands and are due to reach them later in  the day, the state-owned People’s Daily said on its microblog.

The weekend’s protests mainly  targeted  Japanese diplomatic missions but also shops, restaurants and  car dealerships in  at least five cities. Toyota and Honda said arsonists had badly damaged their  stores in the eastern port city of Qingdao at  the weekend.

Toyota said its factories and offices were  operating as normal again today and workers were back in work, however, Japanese  electronics group Panasonic  said one of its plants had been sabotaged by  Chinese workers and would  remain closed through tomorrow – the anniversary of  Japan’s 1931  occupation of parts of mainland China.

Tokyo fears the date could  cause another  dangerous outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment.

Many Japanese schools across  China,  including in Beijing and Shanghai, have cancelled classes this  week.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko  Noda, who  met visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today,  urged Beijing to ensure  Japan’s people and property were protected.

Panetta said the U.S. would  stand by its  security treaty obligations to Japan but not take sides in  the row, and urged  calm and restraint on both sides in their dispute  over the islands.

‘It is in everybody’s interest …  for Japan  and China to maintain good relations and to find a way to  avoid further  escalation,’ he told reporters In Tokyo.

Tens of thousands of protesters gather outside the city headquarters of Communist Party in Shenzhen, in south China's Guangdong province on SundayTens of thousands of protesters gather outside the city  headquarters of Communist Party in Shenzhen, in south China’s Guangdong province  on Sunday


The angry protestors face-up to riot police as cans of tears gas are launched by officers against mobThe angry protestors face-up to riot police as cans of  tears gas are launched by officers against mob


Demonstrators surround a team of paramilitary police officers in the worst outbreak of anti-Japanese sentiment in decadesDemonstrators surround a team of paramilitary police  officers in the worst outbreak of anti-Japanese sentiment in decades

The overseas edition of the People’s  Daily,  the main newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, warned that  Beijing could  resort to economic retaliation if the dispute festers.

‘How could it be that Japan wants  another  lost decade, and could even be prepared to go back by two  decades,’ said a  front-page editorial in the newspaper. China ‘has  always been extremely  cautious about playing the economic card’, it  said.

‘But in struggles concerning  territorial  sovereignty, if Japan continues its provocations, then China will take up the  battle,’ the paper said.

Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said  after talks with Panetta, that Tokyo and Washington agreed the disputed islets  were covered by the Japan-U.S. security treaty.

Chinese demonstrators protest outside the Japanese embassy in Beijing demanding the return of the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands from JapanChinese demonstrators protest outside the Japanese  embassy in Beijing demanding the return of the Diaoyu or Senkaku islands from  Japan


The dispute over the islands, known as the Senkaku by Japan and the Diaoyu by China, now threatens to seriously damage trade ties between Asia's two biggest economiesThe dispute over the islands, known as the Senkaku by  Japan and the Diaoyu by China, now threatens to seriously damage trade ties  between Asia’s two biggest economies


Police walk past a closed Japanese restaurant covered with Chinese national flags as anti-Japanese protests continued outside the Japanese Embassy in BeijingPolice walk past a closed Japanese restaurant covered  with Chinese national flags as anti-Japanese protests continued outside the  Japanese Embassy in Beijing

‘I did not bring up the topic today, but it  is mutually understood between Japan and the United States that (the islands)  are covered by the treaty,’ he said after meeting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon  Panetta in Tokyo.

Japanese electronics firm Canon Inc has  stopped production at three of its four Chinese factories for today and  tomorrow, citing concerns over employees’ safety, Japanese media reports said,  while All Nippon Airways Co reported a rise in cancellations on Japan-bound  flights from China.

The dispute also hit the shares of Hong  Kong-listed Japanese retailers today, with department store operator Aeon Stores  (Hong Kong) Co Ltd falling to a seven-month low.

‘All Japan-related shares are under selling  pressure …,’ said Andrew To, a research director from Emperor  Capital.

The oil-rich islands in the East China sea have been heavily disputed by China and JapanThe oil-rich islands in the East China sea are the cause  of the violent dispute between China and Japan


China is Japan’s biggest trade partner and  Japan is China’s third largest. Any harm to business and investment ties would  be bad for both economies at a time when China faces a slowdown.

Qingdao police announced on the Internet  today they had arrested a number of people suspected of ‘disrupting social  order’ during the protests, apparently referring to the attacks on  Japanese-operated factories and shops there.

In Shanghai, home to China’s biggest Japanese  expatriate population of 56,000, one expat said his family as well as other  Japanese customers had been chased out of a Japanese restaurant on Sunday by  protesters near the Japanese consulate.


Guangzhou police said on an official  microblog, that they had detained 11 people for smashing up a Japanese-brand  car, shop windows and billboards on Sunday.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2204497/Japanese-ex-pats-hiding-China-workers-urged-stay-indoors-fury-islands-dispute-grows.html#ixzz26naw3Kwt

Brief History of The Islands in Dispute between China and Japan: Islands Just sold for 26 Million

October Surprise: 2012 Sino-Japanese War Edition

A chain of islands with a land area just a little more than 10% that of Manhattan is causing big trouble in East Asia.  The Senkaku Islands are a persistent thorn in Sino-Japanese relations, and it appears that both countries are on course for one of the epic dick-measuring contests they have every couple of years over the chain. Below, I’ve linked to a report to events this weekend in the region.


The Senkaku Islands have been a source of dispute between China and Japan since the late 1970s, but the truth of the matter is that neither one of them actually gives a damn about the islands themselves.  No one actually lives there.  They are barren rock outcrops about a hundred miles away from anything of interest, but they grant an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)  which includes the Chunxiao field, which is believed to be rich in natural gas/petroleum but has yet to be developed because of the dispute.

Prior to 1895, the islands where unoccupied, although the People’s Republic of China claims them on the basis that the surrounding waters have been exploited by Chinese fisherman for centuries.  Bolstering this claim is the belief that the chain is historically connected to Okinawa, which between 1429-1879 was part of the Chinese vassal, Ryuku Kingdom. However, it should also be noted that from 1609 on, Okinawa was also a vassal of the Japanese Satsuma Domain.

The 1895 Sino-Japanese war resulted in the transfer of  Chinese claims in the region, including Taiwan and Okinawa to the Japanese.  That same year, Japan annexed the Senkaku islands, claiming that they were terra nullis and placed a small number of settlers on them.  This situation persisted until the end of the Second World War, after which Taiwan was returned to China, and the US occupied Okinawa and the Senkakus.  In 1972, the US returned both to Japan. At roughly the same time, the present dispute emerged as the gas/oil potential of the surrounding waters became known.

Every few years, there’s a heated exchange over the islands that normally dies down after 2-3 months.  Both Chinese and Japanese nationalists are passionately dedicated to the idea that the Senkaku islands are an integral part of their country.  Beyond the possibility of mineral wealth, there are extremist groups on both sides that have fueled the dispute.  Most recently in 2010, the arrest of Chinese fishermen after they rammed a Japan Coast Guard vessel attempting to remove them from the waters surrounding the islands led to a rapid escalation in the war of words between the country.

Although it is clear that the Chinese fishermen (likely acting as proxies for the Chinese government) were the aggressors in this case, ultimately it was the Japanese government that backed down. In 2010, the Chinese government began to lose control over the protests cum riots which occurred throughout the country against Japanese interests.  Japanese nationalists loathed this, and having been looking for a way to force the Japanese national government to  take a strong stand against persistent violations of their territorial waters by Chinese activists and fishing vessels.  So they raised money to buy the damn islands.

Sarajevo on the Sea

Until this year, the Senkaku Islands were owned by the descendants of one of the Japanese families which settled the islands after 1895. Earlier this year, Shintaro Ishihara, governor of Tokyo prefecture and leader in the opposition LDP, raised private funds to purchase the islands from the family, and attach them to Tokyo prefecture. In order to preempt this, the Japanese national government made moves to purchase the islands themselves, eventually turning them over to the Japan Coast Guard earlier this week.  This news provoked serious protests in China, and prompted the decision to send Chinese warships to patrol the islands. This is the CCP responding to the Chinese street.  Better for Beijing to be with the protesters throwing rocks, then getting them thrown at them.

From the Daily KOS:


US wades into China-Japan island dispute with missile defense deal

Published: 17 September, 2012, 13:32 Edited: 17 September, 2012, 16:44

A territorial dispute between China and Japan could spark a “violent conflict,” US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said. The US also inked a missile defense deal with Tokyo likely to anger Beijing, while mass anti-Japanese protests grip China.

“I am concerned that when these countries engage in provocations of one kind or another over these various islands, that it raises the possibility that a misjudgment on one side or the other could result in violence, and could result in conflict,” Panetta said.

He also warned that Beijing and Tokyo should put an end to provocations or risk a “potentially expanding” conflict.

Following the diplomatic meeting with Panetta, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said that Washington had agreed that the Senkaku islands, claimed by both Japan and China, are covered by a US-Japan security treaty.

In the 1960 treaty, the US committed to aid the Japanese in the event of an attack on the nation’s territory.

“I did not bring up the topic today, but it is mutually understood between Japan and the United States that [the islands] are covered by the treaty,” Gemba said after the meeting on Monday. Washington previously claimed that the US would not take sides in the territorial dispute over the archipelago in the East China Sea.

The US also signed an agreement with Japan on Monday to build a second missile defense radar installation on Japanese territory, aimed at countering North Korea. China may view the move as a provocation.

The Senkaku islands – known as Diaoyu to the Chinese – are uninhabited, but are believed to contain rich mineral deposits and are located on important shipping lanes.

Violent protests rocked China after Japan announced last week that it had purchased three of the islands from a private owner.  In the latest bout of demonstrations, anti-Japanese activists attacked Panasonic factories in the eastern city of Quingdao. Protesters burned Japanese flags and targeted Japanese-made cars.

In response to the wave of unrest, Panasonic temporarily ceased operations in China. In addition, Canon announced that it would suspend operations for employees’ safety. Toyota Motor Corp also said that it was affected by the anti-Japanese unrest, citing a suspected arson attack on one of its factories in the eastern Shandong province.


‘A decade of stagnation’

In a worrying escalation of the standoff around 1000 Chinese fishing boats are heading to waters near the disputed Senaku Islands, the state –run China National Radio reported, in what may be an additional counter measure over the Japanese nationalization of the isles.

The 1000 fishing boats may be joined by six Chinese surveillance ships, which have been stationed nearby since Friday.

On Monday, the Chinese government threatened that Japan could suffer from another “lost decade” if relations between the two countries deteriorate further.

“How could be it be that Japan wants another lost decade, and could even be prepared to go back by two decades,” state newspaper the People’s Daily said in a front-page article. China “has always been extremely cautious about playing the economic card,” it said.

The paper claimed that China was prepared to “take up the battle,” should tensions persist.

James Corbett, an independent journalist based in Japan, said that the Japanese government’s move to sign a missile defense deal with the US will have “a very destabilizing effect on the region.”

“It’s destined to inflame tensions even further,” Corbett said. He dismissed US claims that the new missile defense radar is aimed at countering a North Korean threat as, “silly as saying that the missile defense shield going up in Europe is not aimed at Russia.”

Corbett described the “diplomatic scuffle” over the islands as relatively recent, stemming from the deposits of natural gas and oil believed to be near to the islands. “For an awfully long time these islands were claimed by Japan and no one really cared about it in the region,” Corbett said.

Japan firms close Chinese plants after protests

By Agence France-Presse Monday, September 17, 2012 7:05 EDT

Police walk past a closed Japanese restaurant covered with Chinese national flags via AFP


Japanese firms including Panasonic suspended operations at plants in China, companies and reports said Monday, after mass anti-Tokyo protests at the weekend over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

Speaking in Tokyo, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called for diplomatic efforts to resolve the worsening spat, a day after warning “misjudgement on one side or the other could result in violence, and could result in conflict”.

China is Japan’s biggest trading partner and the stoppages came as the ruling Communist Party’s mouthpiece warned Japan’s economy could suffer for up to 20 years if Beijing chose to impose sanctions over the territorial row.

Trade sanctions between Asia’s two biggest economies could cast a pall over growth on the continent, which major Western countries are counting on to drive recovery from the global slowdown.

Panasonic said it was halting work at a factory in Qingdao in northeast China “for the time being” after a fire. The electronics giant had also reportedly temporarily suspended two other plants, but no immediate confirmation was available.

The camera and printer maker Canon, meanwhile, suspended three of its four main plants Monday and Tuesday to ensure the safety of its employees, a company spokesman told Dow Jones newswires.

Widespread anti-Japanese protests, some of them violent, have been held in recent days over a group of small islands known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. They are claimed by both but controlled by Tokyo.

The row intensified last week when the Japanese government bought three of the islands, effectively nationalising them, and China responded by sending patrol ships into the waters around them.

China and Japan have close trade and business ties, with numerous Japanese companies investing in its larger neighbour and two-way trade totalling $342.9 billion last year, according to Chinese figures.

But the two countries’ political relationship is often tense due to the territorial dispute and Chinese resentment over past conflicts and atrocities.

A new wave of protests is expected Tuesday, the anniversary of the 1931 “Mukden incident” that led to Japan’s invasion of Manchuria, which is commemorated every year in China.

A commentary in the People’s Daily newspaper on the possibility of economic sanctions said: “Amidst a struggle that touches on territorial sovereignty, if Japan continues its provocations China will inevitably take on the fight.”

The Japanese economy has already experienced two lost decades from the 1990s and was suffering further weakness in the aftermath of the world financial crisis and 2011 earthquake, it added.

Japan in 2010 lost its title as the world’s second-biggest economy to China. “Japan’s economy lacks immunity to Chinese economic measures,” the state paper said — although it added that given the interdependency of the two, sanctions would be a “double-edged sword” for China.

The commentary — which only appeared in the paper’s overseas edition — said possible targets could include Japan’s manufacturing and financial industries, exports and investments in China.

“Strategic material imports” could also be affected, it said, an apparent reference to rare earth metals used in many high-tech products including iPads and iPhones.

“Would Japan rather lose another 10 years and even be ready to fall back 20 years?” it asked.

Shares of Chinese companies with business ties to Japanese firms fell in trading in Shanghai as investors sold on worries that the territorial dispute could hurt demand for their products.

Guangzhou Automobile Group, which has manufacturing joint-ventures with Japan’s Toyota and Honda, was down 7.13 percent in afternoon trading.

Dongfeng Automobile, controlled by a joint venture of Japan’s Nissan, fell 2.44 percent