More than half of Chinese see war with Japan: poll

NATIONAL SEP. 11, 2014 – 06:50AM JST ( 25 )


A Japanese F-15 jet approaches a Chinese plane (out of frame) in a spot where the two countries’ air defense zones overlap, in June.AFP
TOKYO —

More than half of Chinese people think their country could go to war with Japan in the future, a new poll revealed Wednesday, after two years of intense diplomatic squabbles.

A survey conducted in both nations found that 53.4% of Chinese envisage a future conflict, with more than a fifth of those saying it would happen “within a few years”, while 29% of Japanese view military confrontation as a possibility.

The findings come ahead of the second anniversary Thursday of Japan’s nationalisation of disputed islands in the East China Sea that have formed the focus of tensions between the Asian giants.

Underlining the lingering row over the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands, four Chinese coast guard vessels sailed into their territorial waters on Wednesday morning.

China regards them as its territory and calls them the Diaoyu Islands.

The survey was conducted by Japanese non-governmental organisation the Genron NPO and the China Daily, a Chinese state-run newspaper, in July and August.

It questioned 1,000 Japanese aged 18 or older and 1,539 Chinese of the same age range in five cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenyang and Xian. Continue reading “More than half of Chinese see war with Japan: poll”

Chinese ships sail in disputed waters after Japan warning ” fears grow over a potential military clash “

→National Aug. 07, 2014 – 06:30AM JST ( 25 )

TOKYO —

Chinese coast guard ships sailed into waters off Japanese-controlled islands in the East China Sea on Wednesday, officials said, after Tokyo’s annual defense paper warned over China’s “dangerous acts” near the disputed archipelago.

The report, published Tuesday, said frequent appearances by Chinese ships in the area could lead to “unintended consequences”, as fears grow over a potential military clash between the Asian powers.

English: Aerial Photo of Kitakojima and Minami...
English: Aerial Photo of Kitakojima and Minamikojima of Senkaku Islands, Ishigaki City, Okinawa, Japan, 1978. 日本語: 北小島・南小島(尖閣諸島):沖縄県石垣市、東シナ海 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three Chinese vessels sailed into territorial waters that extend 12 nautical miles around one of the Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus, the Japanese coast guard said.

The ships entered the area around 10 a.m. and left about two hours later, it said.

Continue reading “Chinese ships sail in disputed waters after Japan warning ” fears grow over a potential military clash “”

Japan, China trade claims over latest aerial provocation

 

by Reiji Yoshida and Mizuho Aoki

Jun 12, 2014

Tokyo and Beijing traded blame Thursday over the second close and potentially dangerous encounter in just over two weeks between Chinese SU-27 fighter jets and Japanese reconnaissance planes over the East China Sea.

 

The close encounter took place Wednesday where the air defense identification zones of China and Japan overlap due to their claims to the Senkaku Islands, a defense official told The Japan Times.

Senkaku Islands(Diaoyu Islands) Left:Uotsuri J...

Continue reading “Japan, China trade claims over latest aerial provocation”

Diaoyu Islands vow ‘may backfire / Obama’s remarks may lead to unforeseen problems because the military commitment

‘By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily) 07:26, April 25, 2014

The PLA is fully capable of safeguarding China’s Diaoyu Islands, says spokesman

US President Barack Obama’s promise of military cover for Japan’s claim on the Diaoyu Islands faces the potential of backfiring, observers said.

Senkaku Islands(Diaoyu Islands) Left:Uotsuri J...

Continue reading “Diaoyu Islands vow ‘may backfire / Obama’s remarks may lead to unforeseen problems because the military commitment”

Japan ASDF scrambles jets to intercept three Chinese planes

AFP-JIJI

The Air Self-Defense Force scrambled jets Sunday after three Chinese planes approached Japanese airspace, defense officials said.

The ASDF response was prompted by a Chinese Y-8 surveillance plane and two H-6 bombers that were flying in international airspace over the East China Sea between southern Japanese islands. The Chinese planes entered skies over the Pacific Ocean before heading back toward China along the same route Sunday morning, a spokesman for the Defense Ministry’s Joint Staff said. Continue reading “Japan ASDF scrambles jets to intercept three Chinese planes”

Southern air defence zone ‘crucial for China in long term’, PLA expert says

–  “The establishment of another ADIZ over the South China Sea is necessary for China’s long-term national interest.”

UPDATED : Saturday, 22 February, 2014, 4:51am

Minnie Chan and Reuters in Washington

  • bcb39ad6e73b3da37cfec4e023b23f58.jpg
US Army Chief of Staff Raymond Odierno and General Wang Ning salute while reviewing an honour guard in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Establishing a second air defence zone – this time over the South China Sea – was in China’s long-term interest, a senior People’s Liberation Army researcher said yesterday.

Senior colonel Li Jie , of the PLA Navy’s Military Academy, said a senior US intelligence officer’s remarks last week about China’s intention to declare another air defence identification zone (ADIZ) were meant to deter China from making such a move. Continue reading “Southern air defence zone ‘crucial for China in long term’, PLA expert says”

Japan condemns China fishing curbs; vows to defend islands

Map of the South China Sea
Map of the South China Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

National Jan. 13, 2014 – 06:35AM JST

– require foreign fishing vessels to obtain approval to enter disputed waters in the South China Sea, which the local government says are under its jurisdiction

NARASHINO —

Japan on Sunday joined the United States in criticizing China’s new fishing restrictions in the South China Sea, saying the curbs, coupled with the launch last year of an air defense zone, has left the international community jittery. Continue reading “Japan condemns China fishing curbs; vows to defend islands”

China sends warplanes to new air defence zone amid tensions

China has reacted to US and Japanese breaches by reportedly announcing it will   now carry out regular patrols

Japanese officials say the country's air force and coastguard have flown through China's air defence identification zone without meeting any resistance

A Japanese Maritime Self-Defence Force surveillance plane flies over the disputed islands in the East China Sea, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China Photo: AP
Alex Spillius

By , Diplomatic Correspondent

5:20PM GMT 28 Nov 2013

China has dispatched war planes to a newly declared air defence zone over the   East China Sea, according to reports.

Xinhua, the state news agency, quoted an air force colonel as saying the   aircraft had carried out “routine patrols” of the zone, which covers nearly   one million square miles of airspace.

If confirmed, the move would dramatically escalate tensions already running high after the United States, Japan and South Korea all ignored the declaration, which was made at the weekend.

China had insisted that any planes traversing the area should submit flight   plans or face “emergency defensive measures”.

Washington responded by sending in two unarmed B52 bombers into the zone on   Tuesday, while Japan and South Korea yesterday flew military aircraft into   the area in defiance of Beijing.

Criticism of China’s ADIZ increases; Japanese airlines do a policy U-turn / All Nippon Airways now refuse to comply with China

An All Nippon Airways Co. jet taxis at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Oct. 27. Japanese airlines reversed their earlier announcements that they would follow rules set by China over its air defense identification zone. | BLOOMBERG

AFP-JIJI

Several governments joined Japan Tuesday in criticizing China’s latest bid to carve out a zone of control in the East China Sea, including Australia summoning Beijing’s ambassador to voice opposition over the move.As administrations around the world began lining up against Beijing over its unilaterally declared Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ), dismissing it as invalid, Japan called on its airlines to refuse China’s demands that they obey new rules when entering the zone.

China’s declaration of an air defence zone has sharply escalated tensions in the region.

The rules Beijing announced at the weekend mean China has effectively demanded control over the airspace above a swathe of the East China Sea criss-crossed by vital transport lanes.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) initially said that since Sunday it has been submitting flight plans to Chinese authorities for any plane that was due to pass through the area, which includes islands at the centre of a bitter territorial row between Tokyo and Beijing.

Its affiliate Peach Aviation said it was doing the same “for now” and Japan Airlines said it was also complying with the rules.

But late Tuesday the Kyodo and Jiji news agencies reported that both All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines had reversed that decision, giving no further explanations.

Continue reading “Criticism of China’s ADIZ increases; Japanese airlines do a policy U-turn / All Nippon Airways now refuse to comply with China”

US military aircraft defies China’s new defence zone to fly over disputed East China Sea

Two US B-52 bombers have flown over the disputed Senkaku/Daiyou islands, ‘in a   direct challenge’ to China’s new air defence zone

A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island , Minamikojima and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea

A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island , Minamikojima and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea Photo: REUTERS

By Peter Foster, Washington

5:46PM GMT 26 Nov 2013

THE United States sent a clear message to China yesterday not to over-step its   territorial ambitions in the East China Sea by flying a pair of B-52 nuclear   bombers through air-space disputed by Japan and China.

The flights by the two unarmed aircraft came three days after Beijing   unilaterally declared an aerial identification zone over a large area that   includes the Senkaku islands – known as Diayou in China – that are the   subject of a bitter territorial feud with Japan.

The two US aircraft did not identify themselves as they entered China’s   self-declared Air Defence Identification Zone, a Pentagon spokesman said on   Tuesday, who pointedly referred to the disputed islands by their Japanese   name.

Continue reading “US military aircraft defies China’s new defence zone to fly over disputed East China Sea”

Chinese embassy in Tokyo has called on all Chinese citizens in Japan to voluntarily register with its consular section as tensions between the two countries reach new heights

diaoyu.jpg

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 12:20pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 November, 2013, 6:16pm

Patrick Boehler patrick.boehler@scmp.com

The Chinese embassy in Tokyo has called on all Chinese citizens in Japan to voluntarily register with its consular section as tensions between the two countries reach new heights over a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.

The embassy called on all the Chinese living in Japan to register “to facilitate consular assistance” in case of “a major unexpected emergency”, according to a statement on its website. Chinese living in Japan were asked to submit contact details of next of kin in Japan and China.

According to Japanese census data, there are more than 600,000 people of Chinese descent living in Japan. Chinese media have reported the majority of this group are students, business people and employees of Japanese companies, but it is unclear how many of them have retained Chinese citizenship.

A registration form was uploaded on the diplomatic mission’s homepage in early November, but attracted widespread attention over the weekend after China announced on Saturday it was setting up an “air defence identification zone” in the East China Sea, which covers the disputed Diaoyu Islands.

The zone, which overlaps roughly in half of Japanese airspace claims, requires all airplanes crossing it to report to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the civil aviation administration. China launched an aerial patrol to enforce the claims on Saturday, while Japan deployed two fighter jets to intercept the patrols.

China’s leaders are determined to pursue their interests with little heed to their neighbours
Dr Sheila A. Smith

The US and South Korea has expressed concern over the move. Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida warned of the “danger of unpredictable events on the spot” in a reaction on Sunday.

Read More:http://www.scmp.com/news/china-insider/article/1365185/chinese-japan-told-register-emergencies-amid-territorial-row

China creates air defence zone over Japan-controlled islands as of 10.00am Saturday

Aircraft in the zone are expected to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain radio communication with Chinese authorities

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 November, 2013, 1:27pm

spending_pxp200_34408365.jpg

A view from a Chinese surveillance aircraft shows the disputed Diaoyu Islands claimed by China and Japan. Photos: Reuters

Beijing on Saturday announced it was setting up an “air defence identification zone” over an area that includes islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China, in a move that could inflame the bitter territorial row.

Along with the creation of the zone in the East China Sea, the defence ministry released a set of aircraft identification rules that must be followed by all planes entering the area, under penalty of intervention by the military.

Aircraft are expected to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain two-way radio communication allowing them to “respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries” from Chinese authorities.

Map of the air defence zone published by the Ministry of Defence on Saturday. Photo: SCMP Pictues

Continue reading “China creates air defence zone over Japan-controlled islands as of 10.00am Saturday”

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

TOKYO —

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

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-readies-huge-island-war-games-amid-youtube-pr-push

 

All Chinese journalists ordered to censor supportive stances toward Japan

Kyodo

  • Oct 20, 2013

BEIJING – China’s Communist Party has begun ordering all Chinese journalists not to take supportive stances toward Japan when writing about territorial and historical issues between the two countries, participants of a mandatory training program revealed Saturday.

Around 250,000 journalists who work for various Chinese media organizations must attend the nationwide training program to learn about such topics as Marxist views on journalism, laws and regulations and norms in news-gathering and editing, in order to get their press accreditation renewed. The unified program started in mid-October and will run through the end of this year.

It is believed to be the first time the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which tightly controls the country’s media industry, has carried out this kind of training program before renewing press credentials.

On Japan, the instructors denounced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “right-leaning” policies and urged reporters from newspapers, news agencies, broadcasters and online media to refrain from concessionary comments regarding China’s claims over the Japan-held Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the participants said. China claims the islets as Diaoyu.

But at the same time, they warned participants not to adopt overly belligerent positions vis-a-vis Japan.

In addition to Japan, the instructors said the United States is “trying to undermine our country” and criticized the Philippines and Vietnam, which are mired in territorial disputes with China, the participants said.

They were also told to reject democracy and human rights, as these values, the instructors said, are claimed by “the West as universal (but) are targeting China’s Communist Party.”

One group of instructors praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, as the Chinese government has been trying to promote images of close relations with him, according to the participants.

After taking the program, Chinese journalists are required to pass an exam, seen taking place between January and February, to obtain press cards.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/10/20/national/all-chinese-journalists-ordered-to-censor-supportive-stances-toward-japan/#.UmNE7MHn_Vg

Secret Japan-China talks held over island dispute

Oct. 16, 2013 – 07:01AM JST

TOKYO —

A senior Chinese government official has secretly visited Japan for talks with Japanese officials aimed at improving bilateral relations damaged by an ongoing territorial row, a report said Tuesday.

The talks involving a high-ranking official from the Chinese foreign ministry’s Asian division were thought to have been held in early October, Japanese news agency Jiji Press reported from Beijing quoting Chinese government sources.

A high-ranking official from the Japanese foreign ministry attended the meeting, the report said.

A Japanese foreign ministry official declined comment on the content of the report, saying: “Japan and China have been making various exchanges at various levels.”

The Tokyo-Beijing ties took a nosedive in September last year over the ownership of the Japan-controlled Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls the Diaoyus.

The row over the islands in the East China Sea has led to warnings of a possible armed confrontation.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe managed a brief encounter and shook the hand of Chinese President Xi Jinping last week on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in Indonesia. But China rejected a formal sit-down meeting between them due to the island dispute.

Abe has not held formal talks with Chinese and South Korean leaders since taking office last December. Tokyo also has a dispute with Seoul over a group of South Korea-controlled isles.

The legacy of Japan’s 20th century wartime aggression has also been souring Tokyo’s ties with the neighbors.

(C) 2013 AFP

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/secret-japan-china-talks-held-over-island-dispute

Ships patrol Diaoyu Islands in advance of anniversary

China sends large coastguard flotilla to mark Japan’s purchase of disputed islands last year

    Wednesday, 11 September, 2013 [Updated: 10:00AM]
  • _tok520_38015161.jpg
Vessels from the China Maritime Surveillance and the Japan Coast Guard near the disputed Diaoyu Islands. Photo: Reuters

China and Japan entered into a fresh round of bitter exchanges over their territorial row in the East China Sea yesterday – one day ahead of the anniversary of Japan’s purchase of the disputed Diaoyu Islands.

Beijing sent seven coastguard ships to patrol around the islands, which are known as the Senkakus in Japan, prompting Tokyo to lodge a formal protest and raise the possibility of stationing Japanese government workers on the island.

The latest Chinese patrol was the 59th since last September, when Tokyo announced that it would buy several of the islands, China’s State Oceanic Administration said.

In response, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki summoned China’s ambassador in Tokyo, Cheng Yonghua, to protest against the patrol. Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said the ministry was strengthening its surveillance of the islands.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said stationing government workers on the islands was an “option”..

In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei hit back at Tokyo’s claims, saying Japan has to “remedy mistakes” and China was “seriously concerned” about Japan’s plans.

“Japan has to bear all the consequences if it recklessly takes provocative moves,” Hong said.

The State Oceanic Administration gave detailed accounts of its law enforcement since last September. It said vessels had gone within 0.28 nautical miles of the islands during the patrols. Japanese vessels had come within 10 metres of Chinese ships.

President Xi Jinping told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a brief encounter on the sidelines of a G20 summit in St Petersburg last week that Sino-Japanese ties faced “grave difficulties”.

A report by Kyodo, citing Japanese government sources, said Japan was exploring a formal meeting between the two leaders at next month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Indonesia, but Tokyo was also planning to set up by 2015 a special military unit dedicated to “reclaiming islands”.

Da Zhigang, an expert in Japanese affairs at the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, said a quick improvement in relations is unlikely. “No one is sure if Abe is sincere or not,” he said.

 

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1307944/ships-patrol-diaoyu-islands-advance-anniversary

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

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

TOKYO/BEIJING —

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.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/china-warns-japan-against-stationing-workers-on-disputed-isles

Japan could anger China by putting government workers on isles

A Japan Coast Guard boat (front) and vessel sail as Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, is pictured in the background, in the East China Sea August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Ruairidh Villar

A Japan Coast Guard boat (front) and vessel sail as Uotsuri island, one of the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, is pictured in the background, in the East China Sea August 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ruairidh Villar

TOKYO |          Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:34am BST

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan might station government workers on disputed islands in the East China Sea to defend its sovereignty, the top government spokesman said on Tuesday, raising the possibility of action that would inevitably anger China.

Relations between Asia’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 sensitive anniversary, said it was “extremely regrettable” that Chinese government ships had repeatedly entered what he described as Japan’s territorial waters.

The Japanese 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”.

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

On Monday, Japan scrambled fighter jets when it spotted what appeared to be an unmanned drone aircraft flying toward 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 Defence 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; Editing by Robert Birsel)

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/09/10/uk-japan-china-idUKBRE98906O20130910?rpc=401&feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews&rpc=401

China rules out talks with Japan on disputed Diaoyus

    Wednesday, 28 August, 2013 [Updated: 5:28AM]
  • japan_coast.jpg
A Japan Coast Guard vessel patrols off the disputed Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea. Photo: Reuters

China sees no reason to hold talks with Japan over their dispute about ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong said.

Li said Japan’s call for high-level talks was not genuine, but merely grandstanding.

A meeting between leaders is not simply for the sake of shaking hands and taking pictures, but to resolve problems. If Japan wants to arrange a meeting to resolve problems, they should stop with the empty talk and doing stuff for show
Deputy Foreign Minister Li Baodong

“A meeting between leaders is not simply for the sake of shaking hands and taking pictures, but to resolve problems,” Li said ahead of President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the G20 summit next week.

“If Japan wants to arrange a meeting to resolve problems, they should stop with the empty talk and doing stuff for show,” Li said, when asked about the possibility of a meeting of Chinese and Japanese leaders at the G20.

China’s blunt rejection came as Japan yesterday voiced irritation over a remark by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who called on Tokyo to face up to the past and improve ties with its neighbours. Speaking in Seoul on Monday, Ban called for “very deep introspection” by Japanese leaders, especially with regard to moves in Japan to revise its pacifist constitution. “I find it very regrettable that the tension [among the three northeast Asian countries] continues on due to issues of history and other political reasons,” Ban said.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said he doubted if Ban was fully aware of the efforts Japan was making towards dialogue with China and South Korea.

“Prime Minister [Shinzo Abe] has called for dialogue with South Korea and China despite issues of concern,” Suga said. “I feel a strong sense of doubt as to whether the remark was made with full understanding of our country’s position.”

However, Professor Lian Degui , of the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said it was unlikely that a Chinese state leader would meet Abe if Japan did not address Beijing’s concerns over Tokyo’s nationalising of the Diaoyu Islands, which Japan refers to as the Senkakus.

“If Japan really wants to improve ties with China, then it should address our concern,” he said. “It makes no sense for Tokyo to ask for a dialogue if Japan does not change its stance.”

Japan’s coastguard said yesterday that three Chinese coastguard vessels had entered what Japan considered to be its territorial waters near the disputed islands. China said the trip was a routine patrol in its own waters.

Reuters, Agence France Presse; additional reporting by Teddy Ng

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1299690/china-sees-no-basis-talks-japan-over-islands-dispute

 

Japan could be ‘main player’ if Asia conflicts break out: defense minister

 

By Harumi Ozawa

Politics Aug. 27, 2013 – 02:01PM JST ( 6 )

TOKYO —

Japan could be a key participant if conflict breaks out in Asia, the defense minister said Monday, warning China is seeking to exploit difficulties between allies.

The comments by Itsuno Onodera, who said Japan needs new equipment and must reconfigure its defense, come as Tokyo is embroiled in an ongoing spat with Beijing over disputed territory that has sparked warnings of a possible armed skirmish.

“The crisis that Japan faces now may lead to situations in which the country may have to be involved as a main player,” Onodera told a symposium in the capital.

“Before, it was expected that Japan would only be part of a group (involved in any confrontation),” he said, in apparent reference to the U.S.-Japan security alliance.

“Or that a conflict might occur only in areas surrounding the country,” he said. “Japan’s defense has been designed for that scenario.

“But Japan (now) needs to have a good defense to protect the country, which can mean equipment, new aircraft, defense systems or cyber protection.”

Onodera said Tokyo needed to be wary of China’s maritime expansion in the South and East China Sea.

“China has made more and more advancement into the seas,” he said. “When it did not have as much military capability, China tried to promote dialogue and economic cooperation, setting territorial rows aside. But when it sees a chance, any daylight between a nation and its ally, it makes blunt advancements. This is what is happening and what we should learn from the situation in Southeast Asia.”

Onodera’s speech came as he readied to head to Brunei to participate in the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) starting on Wednesday.

The group gathers defense ministers from Southeast Asian nations and eight other regional powers—Japan, China, South Korea, the U.S., Russia, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Onodera said he will “repeatedly explain Japan’s position to his Asian counterparts” and that Tokyo’s motives were entirely defensive.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this year boosted Japan’s defense budget for the first time in over a decade against the backdrop of growing concerns among many countries in the region about China.

But any move to strengthen military capabilities rouses hostility and suspicion in the region, much of which labored under the brutal yoke of Japanese occupation until the end of World War II.

Since coming to power in December, Abe has repeatedly made noises about altering Japan’s pacifist constitution, which bars the country from offensive action.

The defense ministry last month published a paper saying Japan needed amphibious units and surveillance drones to protect its outlying islands.

Japan’s moves come against a backdrop of increasing Chinese activity in waters far from its mainland coast.

The two countries have spent the last year involved in a dispute over the sovereignty of the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which Beijing claims as the Diaoyus.

Vessels and planes from both sides have played cat and mouse in their seas, with some observers warning a slip from either nation could provoke a military confrontation, with possibly wide-ranging ramifications.

On Monday, Tokyo scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese government plane approached airspace Japan claims as it own.

(C) 2013 AFP

http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/japan-could-be-main-player-if-asia-conflicts-break-out-defense-minister

 

Japan unveils largest warship since WWII as tensions with China grow

independent.co.uk — Aug 07
Japan has unveiled its biggest warship since the Second World War, leading to fears that the conflict over disputed islands between it and China could escalate.
The 19,500-tonne behemoth, described as a destroyer but with the capacity to carry up to 14 helicopters on its 250m (820ft) long flight deck, has also been criticised as a disguised attempt to boost the country’s offensive military capabilities – strictly limited by its constitution.Japanese officials said the primary function of the ship would be in national defence. It is specially designed for anti-submarine warfare, and is expected to play an integral role in border surveillance.

The ship, which cost $1.2 billion, is also intended to be capable of assisting in humanitarian response missions. It will be used to transport evacuees, emergency services personnel and supplies in the event of large-scale natural disasters like the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.

But many see the unveiling of the destroyer now – dubbed “Izumo” – as a direct response to the disputed land between Japan and Taiwan. The islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyutai in China, have for months seen almost constant patrols by ships from both countries.

海上自衛隊創設以来最大となるヘリコプター搭載護衛艦の進水式が、6日、神奈川・横浜­市で行われ、「いずも」と命名された。

Japan moves to safeguard border islands

 

 

Construction of port facilities is under way at Okinotorishima island in Ogasawara village, Tokyo.

News Desk

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Publication Date : 05-08-2013

These remote islands serve as points for defining territorial waters and exclusive economic zones

With repeated incursions by Chinese government ships into Japanese waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture, local and national authorities in Japan are intensifying efforts to safeguard remote islands, which serve as points for defining territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

The nation’s southernmost island, Okinotorishima in Tokyo’s Ogasawara village, is one such example.

The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has begun constructing a port facility there for various purposes, including the development of maritime resources.

Another example is a group of remote islets off the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, which is located near prime fishing grounds. There are growing calls among local residents to rename them. Because the isles currently bear names that include “iwa” (rock), the locals are concerned that such names could be misleading to other nations.

There are 6,847 remote islands in the country, according to the ministry and others. More than 90 of the islands are uninhabited. In many cases, the owners or management status are unknown.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulates that “…rocks which could not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own would have no economic zone or continental shelf.”

The government has decided to safeguard about 400 remote islands around the country.

Wharf under construction

Okinotorishima is an oval-shaped territory located about 1,700 kilometres south of central Tokyo. Under a land ministry construction project, a pier about 160 metres long will be built in its western region along with a portside road to allow access to the island’s interior.

Work began in April with the building of a cargo loading area to serve as a temporary holding space for cargo unloaded from ships. Due to severe seasonal weather such as typhoons and seasonal winds, the period for construction work is restricted to spring and summer. About 100 construction workers have been working on the project. The entire port facility is expected to be completed in three years, according to the ministry.

The territory, which measures about 11 kilometres in circumference, comprises two small islets that are not submerged at high tide. Their combined area is about nine square metres. Their concrete encasings, designed to prevent erosion from waves, require annual maintenance. Because large ships cannot approach the island, construction materials are loaded onto small boats on the ocean. After the wharf is completed, a 130-metre-class vessel can enter a port about eight metres deep.

The total project cost is about 75 billion yen. According to one estimate, about 116 billion yen in profits will be generated if cobalt and nickel desposits believed to exist on the seafloor near the island are successfully exploited.

China has claimed that Okinotorishima is an area consisting of rocks. A senior Japanese ministry official said: “After a port is constructed, it will serve as a hub for research vessels. If economic activity based on resource development picks up, it will become clearer that it is an ‘island.’”

‘Rocks’ a misnomer

Due to its abundance of prime fishing spots, the waters around the Goto Islands in Nagasaki Prefecture have attracted foreign fishing boats, including those from China. Hizen Torishima is located about 61 kilometres southeast from Fukuejima island, which is at the centre of the city of Goto. It consists of three uninhibited islets–Minamiiwa, Iwasenakaiwa and Kitaiwa. Locals have been strongly hoping the names of the islets will be changed.

Because all the islet names contain the word “rock”, some are concerned that it may invite a misunderstanding in the international community amid heightened tensions between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands.

A local association comprising representatives of the business community and other organisations has been seeking to preserve and develop the islets. It asked the Goto municipal government to change their names. The Nagasaki prefectural government also announced that it will work together with the central government to help the city to facilitate the name changes. The city will ask its residents to consider new names for the islets. It plans to file a name change application with the Geospatial Information Authority of Japan as early as autumn.

Prefectural assembly member Hiroshi Yamada, an adviser to the association, said, “By changing their names, each of the islands will be recognized as an ‘island at the national border,’ not only by the Japanese people but also the international community.”

 

http://www.asianewsnet.net/Japan-moves-to-safeguard-border-islands-49870.html

Japan to deploy ships after China detected drilling in disputed waters – report

Published time: July 18, 2013 16:50                                                                            

An aerial view shows a Chinese facility under construction (top R) for natural gas exploration and a large crane ship are seen near what Tokyo claims to be the median line between the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Japan and China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)An aerial view shows a Chinese facility under construction (top R) for natural gas exploration and a large crane ship are seen near what Tokyo claims to be the median line between the overlapping exclusive economic zones of Japan and China, in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2013. (Reuters/Kyodo)

Japan has allegedly ordered geological survey ships to prepare for possible deployment after the Chinese were reportedly detected drilling in Japanese waters near the disputed area of the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, a source told Reuters.

The Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) has  been ordered to put both its survey ships , the Shigen and the  Hakurei, on standby and to prepare to deploy without any foreign  members of staff on board, according to the source .

Japan warned China not to expand gas exploration in the East  China Sea on Thursday, following a media report according to  which Chinese state-run oil companies plan to develop seven new  gas fields in the sea, possibly siphoning gas from the seabed  beneath waters claimed by Japan, Kyodo news agency reported.

“We will never accept development of gas fields in the area  over which there are conflicting claims in a unilateral  manner,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a  press conference. Though he added that officials are still  gathering information to confirm the report.

After in 1968 it was discovered that oil reserves might be found  under the sea near the territory of the islands in the East China  Sea, sovereignty over them has been long disputed by  Japan  and China.

Meanwhile, three Chinese maritime vessels were spotted entering  Japan’s territorial waters on Thursday morning, the Japanese  Coast Guard reported. Beijing said was a routine surveillance and  the ships later left the Japanese waters, but remain in the  contiguous area, the coast guard added.

This particular intrusion came the day after Prime Minister  Shinzo Abe paid a visit to Japan’s southern island of Ishigaki,  only 160 km away from the islets claimed by both China and Japan.

A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship sails around Uotsuri island, part of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan, Diaoyu islands in China (Reuters/Kyodo)A Japan Coast Guard patrol ship sails around Uotsuri island, part of the disputed islands in the East China Sea, known as the Senkaku isles in Japan, Diaoyu islands in China (Reuters/Kyodo)

 

During the visit, the Prime Minister repeated Tokyo’s stand that  the nearby disputed Senkaku Islands are Japanese  territory.  He added that Japan will not back off on  the issue of their sovereignty over the territory which China  calls the Diaoyu Islands claiming they were“stolen” from  the country at the end of the Sino-Japanese war in 1895.

It is rare for a prime minister to visit Ishigaki, and “it is  a strong message for China”, Japan’s Asahi Television said.

Abe’s statement followed a strong reaction in the Chinese media  which accused the Japanese Prime Minister on Thursday of  dangerous politics in the period of heightened relations between  the two countries.

The People’s Liberation Army Daily said Abe was trying to play  the “China threat” angle, to win votes in July 21 upper  house of parliament elections by paying the visit to the island.

“This kind of ‘drinking poison to slake ones thirst’ not only  threatens regional stability, it gives encouragement to Japan’s  ‘turn to the right’,” said the Daily.

The ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily warned that  China would never allow itself to be trampled on again, referring  to the 1931 Japan invasion and the establishment of a  Manchukuo  puppet state located in what is now  northeast China.

The newspaper claimed that the prime minister is “provoking  incidents” aimed to create tension to “push Japan’s  military development.”

Surveillance ships from both nations routinely monitor the  disputed area. The last time that Chinese ships were spotted  there was July 7.

In response to the island dispute and the growing nuclear threat  from the Korean Peninsula, Tokyo has raised its defense budget  for the first time in 11 years. Moreover, Abe wants to revise  Japan’s constitution drafted by the United States after World War  Two to allow for collective military action. If the Prime  Minister’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) obtains the majority of  votes it will be a step closer to pushing through the amendment.

http://rt.com/news/japan-china-disputed-islands-271/

 

Japan mulls nationalising unclaimed islands

National Jul. 16, 2013 – 06:52AM JST ( 32 )

Japan mulls nationalising unclaimed islands
A Taiwan fishing boat is blocked by the Japan Coast Guard near the disputed Diaoyu / Senkaku islands, September 2012AFP

TOKYO  —

Japan may nationalise any unclaimed remote islands in its waters in a bid to bolster its territorial claims, a newspaper said Monday amid a dispute with China over one set.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is to establish a task force to research owners and names of some 400 remote islands, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

If their ownership is unclear, the government will give official names to the islands and nationalise them, the mass-circulation daily reported.

“Japan plans to end the  research next year and quickly take action, including nationalisation, to remote islands with no ownership,” the daily said.

The 400 islands are scattered across waters surrounding the Japanese archipelago.

The task force will comprise officials from the finance and justice ministries as well as the coast guard.

The move is part of Japan’s efforts to preserve maritime resources as the country faces ongoing territorial disputes with its neighbors, the newspaper added.

In 2012, ahead of the planned project, Japan announced plans to give names to some 40 other islands, including some near those at the center of a dispute with China, in an effort to verify the extent of the nation’s exclusive economic zone.

Tensions have steadily risen between China and Japan, which accuses its powerful neighbor of sending an increasing number of ships to exert its claim over sparsely populated islands managed by Tokyo in the East China Sea.

The territorial row over the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, was reignited last September when Tokyo nationalised three islands in the chain in what it said was a mere administrative change of ownership.

Beijing has also disputed Tokyo’s claim to Okinotorishima, which lies 1,700 kilometers south of Tokyo, saying the wave-swept atoll cannot be regarded as an island under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

© 2013 AFP

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/japan-mulls-nationalising-unclaimed-islands

 

Japan seeks to ‘nationalize’ islands

With an Upper House election looming this weekend, the Japanese cabinet plans to strengthen territorial claims on hundreds of remote islands in the East China Sea. -China

Daily/ANN  Tue, Jul 16, 2013    China Daily/Asia News Network

With an Upper House election looming this weekend, the Japanese cabinet plans to strengthen territorial claims on hundreds of remote islands in the East China Sea, observers said.

Tokyo will “nationalise” some islands that have no private owners shortly after a survey of islands is completed in 2014, leading Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun quoted an unnamed government source as saying on Monday.

The Japanese government plans to establish a task force to research the ownership and names of around 400 islands, a move described by Agence France-Presse as an attempt to bolster Japan’s territorial claims.

The latest move is designed to establish more reference points in territorial waters, and if the islands’ ownership is unclear, the government will officially name and nationalise them, the newspaper reported.

Wu Hui, an international law expert at the University of International Relations in Beijing, said if part of these islands falls into the scope of territorial disputes, other countries may lodge serious protests.

“Moreover, a unilateral move to nationalise islands will raise questions over the legitimacy of such a move.”

China-Japan relations were greatly damaged after Tokyo illegally nationalised part of China’s Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea in September.

As far as Tokyo is concerned, nationalizing controversial remote islands is part of legislative preparations for further claims, Wu said.

The island survey was announced shortly after the Japanese defence authorities indicated that they may “guard and retake” remote islands, analysts said.

The Japanese Defence Ministry is proposing “boosting the marine functions of the Self-Defence Forces” in its interim report for a planned revision of the country’s long-term defence policy, Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported on Sunday.

The move underscores the importance attached by the ministry to strengthening the Self-Defence Forces’ ability to defend remote islands, Kyodo said.

Li Guoqiang, deputy director of the Center for Chinese Borderland History and Geography at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “Tokyo is now attempting greater control of maritime areas in order to give it an advantage in territorial disputes.

“Japan is seeking to be a political and military power with its moves on maritime disputes and its so-called measures to secure maritime interests,” Li said.

In mid-June, the Japanese armed forces participated in a joint military drill with the US Army, which involved the simulated retaking an airport occupied by an “enemy”.

These moves highlight Tokyo’s “desperation” to defend and retake remote islands at an early date, said major Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to visit Okinawa Prefecture in the southwest of the country on Tuesday.

The trip seems to demonstrate his determination to enhance the defence of remote islands amid the flaring up of tension with China, Japan’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper said.

“It is rare for a prime minister to visit remote islands during an election campaign,” Japan’s Jiji Press News Agency commented.

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20130716-437495.html

 

Japan: Risk of Incident From ‘Coercive’ Acts By China / fighters were scrambled more than 300 times against Chinese planes flying near Japan’s airspace for the year to March

Jul. 9, 2013 – 08:48AM   |
By SHINGO ITO for AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE   |

TOKYO — China’s “coercive” behavior in waters around islands at the center of a bitter dispute with Japan is dangerous and could trigger an incident, Tokyo said Tuesday in a new defense paper.

At a cabinet meeting, hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his ministers adopted the white paper, the first annual report on Japan’s defense capabilities and regional security since the islands dispute flared anew last year.

Tokyo nationalized three of the five Senkaku islands in September. Beijing lays claim to the islands and calls them the Diaoyus.

“China … has taken action described as coercive, which includes risky behavior,” the 450-page report said.

“China’s activities include its intrusion into Japan’s territorial waters, its violation of Japan’s territorial airspace and even dangerous actions that could cause a contingency,” it said.

In particular, the paper said a Chinese frigate locked weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese destroyer in January — a claim Beijing has denied.

“These acts are extremely regrettable and China should accept and stick to the international norms,” it said.

Chinese and Japanese ships have for months traded warnings over intrusions into what both governments regard as their sovereign areas around the islands, which are strategically sited and rich in resources.

Chinese government ships have regularly sailed into the 12-nautical-mile territorial waters of the islands, where they are confronted by Japan’s well-equipped coastguard.

The most recent incident was Sunday.

Masayoshi Tatsumi, press secretary at Japan’s defense ministry, said the ministry was stepping up efforts to boost cooperation between the armed forces and coast guard in patrolling Japanese waters.

“We are taking all possible measures to maintain full readiness toward issues surrounding our country by using aircraft and other equipment in a flexible manner,” Tatsumi said.

Japanese fighters were scrambled more than 300 times against Chinese planes flying near Japan’s airspace for the year to March, a new record, the paper said.

Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said the white paper “makes some unfounded accusations against China.”

“Recently Japan has often played up the so-called China threat and unilaterally caused tensions and confrontations,” she said.

“Given that some political forces and politicians in Japan clamor for war preparations, military build-up and frequent military exercises, the international community cannot but be worried about where Japan is heading.”

Japan has officially been pacifist since World War II but has 140,000 troops, 140 military ships and 410 aircraft as part of its “self-defense forces.” It raised its military budget by 0.8 percent for the year to March, the first annual gain in 11 years, citing the need to boost island defenses.

The defense paper also stressed the need to enhance the country’s alliance with the United States in the face of China’s increasingly assertive behavior.

Ties with Washington had been strained under Japan’s previous center-left government, which pushed for the relocation of US bases in Okinawa. But under the conservative Abe, Japan has adopted a more nationalistic tone, to Beijing’s concern.

Commentators say the disputed islands are a potential flashpoint for a possible military confrontation between Asia’s two largest powers.

“Senkaku is strategically important for Japan, China and Taiwan,” said Takehiko Yamamoto, professor of international politics at Waseda University in Tokyo.

Taiwan also claims the islands.

“Japan may need to work together with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries to jointly bring China to an arena of dialogue, but it will take some time,” Yamamoto said.

Several members of ASEAN are also at loggerheads with China over separate territorial disputes in the South China Sea, which contains some of the world’s most important shipping lanes and is believed to be rich in fossil fuels.

ASEAN has been pushing a reluctant China for talks on a set of rules governing conduct at sea meant to avert unilateral actions that could spark trouble.

At annual Asia-Pacific security talks a week ago, the Philippines warned that China was engaging in a military buildup at sea that threatened regional peace. China agreed at the talks to begin discussing a code of conduct with ASEAN.

The white paper is an assessment and summary of Japan’s thinking on defense matters and is intended as an effort at transparency aimed at both the public and at neighboring countires.

A policy paper that will discuss specifics on deployment of forces is expected later in the year.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130709/DEFREG03/307090011/Japan-Risk-Incident-From-Coercive-Acts-By-China?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|FRONTPAGE|p

China trying to strengthen its claim to Okinawa

 

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN

National May. 20, 2013 – 06:49AM JST ( 25 )

 

BEIJING —

China is trying to strengthen its claim on tiny, uninhabited, Japanese-controlled islands by raising questions about the much larger Okinawa chain that is home to more than a million Japanese along with major U.S. military installations. The tactic, however, appears to have done little but harden Tokyo’s stance.

Japan refuses to offer any concessions to China over Tokyo’s control of the uninhabited East China Sea islands, which are called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan. Tokyo issued a formal protest to Beijing over the comments about Okinawa, made last week in the ruling Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily.

Scholars in Japan and elsewhere, meanwhile, warn Beijing may be shooting itself in the foot by arousing fears of a creeping campaign to nibble away at Japanese territory.

“If China’s goal is to hold talks with Japan over the Senkakus, articles like these are counterproductive,” said M. Taylor Fravel, a Chinese foreign policy expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “As a result, Japan has an even stronger incentive now to stand firm with China and not hold talks.”

The Diaoyu issue has rarely been out of the headlines in China since Japan’s government bought the islands in September to preempt Tokyo’s pugnacious former mayor from doing so.

Although the Japanese government purchase was ostensibly aimed reducing tensions, the move was seen in China as an attempt to solidify Tokyo’s sovereignty over the islets. Outraged Chinese staged violent street protests and attacked Japanese property, while the government backed up its objections by dispatching patrol boats to confront Japanese ships and sending a surveillance plane into Japanese airspace. While the sides have avoided clashes, the situation remains tense and neither side has backed down.

The comments about Okinawa appeared in a scholarly editorial in People’s Daily, in an apparent attempt to weaken the historical basis of Japan’s claim to the Senkaku islands by questioning the legitimacy of its control over the entire Okinawa chain. Its authors, Li Guoqiang and Zhang Haipeng, are prominent academics at the government’s Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the editorial is believed to have received high-level approval.

Li and Zhang wrote that Japan’s annexation of the formerly independent kingdom of the Ryukyus, including Okinawa, in 1879 amounted to an invasion and the question of sovereignty remains open. The kingdom had also been a Chinese vassal, giving Beijing a say in its political status, although the ruling Qing dynasty was too weak at the time to oppose Japan, the two wrote.

“Not only is Japan obliterating the truth about the Ryukyu issue, but it is doubling its aggressiveness and making provocations over the Diaoyu issue. Therefore it is necessary to revisit the Ryukyu issue,” Li wrote in a follow-up article in a sister newspaper, Global Times. Neither scholar said what, if anything, China should do about the Okinawa chain.

Japan added the Senkaku islands to its territory in 1895, but China refuses to consider them a part of Okinawa. It claims that they were always part of Taiwan, the self-governing island claimed by Beijing.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said last week that the Chinese remarks about Okinawa were “totally unacceptable to us.”

China’s increasingly combative stance is seen as reflecting the attitudes of the country’s new leader Xi Jinping, who espouses a muscular nationalism and an aggressive approach to China’s territorial claims. China has sparred with the Philippines and Vietnam over overlapping claims in the South China Sea and recently engaged in a three-week standoff with Indian troops along a remote Himalayan section of their disputed border.

China’s navy and air force have also been increasingly active around Okinawa, passing through on their way to the West Pacific and conducting missions over the East China Sea that regularly force Japan to scramble its own jets.

The Chinese assertiveness has prompted a rebalancing of forces to the Asia-Pacific region by the U.S., which already maintains Air Force, Marine, Navy and Army bases on Okinawa, along with about 25,000 troops.

The U.S. occupied Okinawa from the end of World War II until May 15, 1972, and the military’s continued presence there remains a source of tension for Okinawans. Wednesday’s anniversary of the return of Okinawa to Japan was marked with no official ceremonies in the prefecture (state).

Although Washington doesn’t take a formal stance on the Senkakus’ sovereignty, it recognizes Japanese control over them and says they fall within the scope of the U.S.-Japan mutual defense pact.

Washington’s stance has drawn rebukes from Beijing, which already resents the U.S. for emboldening Japan on the issue and is highly criticial of what is referred to as the American military’s “pivot” to Asia.

The U.S. rebalancing “has aroused a great deal of suspicion in China,” former Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei wrote in Foreign Policy magazine this week. “These suspicions deepen when the United States gets itself entangled in China’s dispute with Japan over the Diaoyu islands,” He wrote.

Liang Yunxiang, a Japan expert at Peking University, said China’s questions about Okinawa are in part intended to win over global public opinion by “raising awareness of Japan’s invasion history that Japan has tried so hard to obscure.”

However, Liang said that “the move will, of course, frustrate Japan and the stances of the two sides may get tougher.”

Beijing will likely take further such moves as part of a calculated strategy to increase pressure on Japan and strengthening China’s bargaining position, said Paul O’Shea of the Center for East and Southeast Asian Studies at Sweden’s Lund University.

June Teufel Dreyer, a China expert at the University of Miami, said the danger for Beijing is not only that it could alienate Japan, but that it could raise expectations among Chinese activists. That could make it harder for the government to back away from the issue, posing the “first serious test of Xi Jinping’s leadership abilities,” she said.

__

AP writer Elaine Kurtenbach in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/china-trying-to-strengthen-its-claim-to-okinawa

 

China-Japan Island Dispute Could Become Flashpoint

May. 4, 2013 – 11:15AM
By WENDELL MINNICK

 

TAIPEI — While North Korea has garnered attention as Asia’s top hotspot, experts worry that the real problem is between Beijing and Tokyo over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.

Over the past month, rhetoric has soared between new nationalistic leaders in China and Japan as each deploys hardware to the region.

China’s increased ship and air patrols to the islands have prompted an unprecedented response from Japan: Keep out or we will use force to keep you out. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, “Japan is determined to protect its land, water and air.”

And to help its key ally, America’s top military leaders have told Beijing that if the shooting starts, Washington is treaty- and duty-bound to back Tokyo.

That, in turn, has prompted China to declare the islands a “core interest” in a bid to force Tokyo and Washington to back down, a move that’s unlikely to work.

“I think the potential calculated escalation is high,” said Wallace “Chip” Gregson, former assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs under President Barack Obama. “China seems to feel it is in their interests to keep tensions high, and Japan’s tough response meets with political approval across the country. The potential for miscalculation is always there with so many ships and airplanes confronting each other.

“I think China takes US obligations seriously, and they are working to drive a wedge between the US and Japan. I don’t think they expected a strong response from Japan, but now that national prestige is involved in each country, they are stuck,” Gregson said.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s reaffirmation of US sup-port for Japan came last week after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a Japanese reporter April 26 that the “Diaoyu Islands are about sovereignty and territorial integrity. Of course, it’s China’s core interest.”

The “core interest” declaration rattled Tokyo and Washington. The phrase is usually reserved for sensitive Chinese territorial concerns. In March 2010, Chinese officials began declaring the South China Sea as a “core interest” on par with its claims over Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

Hua’s statement was deleted from the official transcript issued by China’s Foreign Ministry.

“It is on the tape,” said Bonnie Glaser, senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “However, when the transcript was issued, that sentence was deleted. The transcript remains the official account. Obviously, someone believed it should not have been said.”

“China is cautious in using the term ‘core interest,’ ” said Su Xiaohui, strategic studies research fellow, China Institute of Inter­national Peace, Beijing. “The reason is that when we define something as a ‘core interest,’ it means that it is not negotiable and China will defend it with all our might.”

A Chinese Foreign Ministry source echoed Su’s comments by saying Hua’s comments were a “signal to the world that the Chinese government attaches more importance to this sovereignty issue and is willing to defend its sovereignty. Whatever it takes.”

Su said China’s definition is not important.

“The reality is that it is difficult for China to step back. It is not only a problem between China and Japan. It is related to the US position, the South China Sea issue, etc. If we failed in dealing with the problem appropriately, the spillover effect would be disastrous.”

China has been ramping up tensions near the islands for the past 16 months. The most recent incident occurred April 23 when eight Chinese marine surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile ter­ritorial zone off the islands.

Hua’s statement was both “surprising” and “expected,” said Jingdong Yuan, a China security specialist at the Centre for International Security Studies, University of Sydney. There is a possibility China has a new policy regarding territorial disputes.

“China would keep the status quo if one challenges it; otherwise, it will now seek to set a new benchmark or redefine the status quo, as it has been doing with regard to Senkaku,” Jingdong said.

There were relatively few intrusions into the vicinity of the island group before September 2012; now it has become a matter of fact where China is “basically demonstrating its de facto, at the minimum, co-administration while ever more loudly claiming its sovereign rights to these islands,” Jingdong said.

Zhuang Jianzhong, vice director of the Center for National Strategy Studies, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, had a different take on the Hua comment. Zhuang said the Diaoyu Islands dispute is different from Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.

“Though it touches upon sovereignty and territorial disputes, the importance of this issue in the sense of a core interest is less than the previous ones,” he said. China is willing to discuss the island dispute with Japan, whereas there is no room for negotiation on the “other three.”

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130504/DEFREG03/305040006/China-Japan-Island-Dispute-Could-Become-Flashpoint

China official clearly calls Senkaku core interest

Jiji Press — Apr 27

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying clarified at a regular press conference Friday that the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea are part of the country’s core interests concerning its territorial sovereignty.

It is the first time that a Chinese Foreign Ministry official has recognized in a public comment that the islands represents a core interest of China.China looks certain to further toughen its stance against Japan over the islands, which Beijing calls Diaoyu, now that they have been clearly cited as a core interest of the country by a senior Foreign Ministry official.

News source: Jiji Press

Chinese ships track Japanese nationalist flotilla

canberratimes.com.au — Apr 23

 

Eight Chinese government ships have entered Japanese territorial waters near disputed islands, the most in a single day since Tokyo nationalised part of the archipelago, the Japanese government says.

 

A flotilla of boats carrying more than 80 Japanese nationalists had arrived in waters near the islands on Tuesday, risking further straining Tokyo’s already tense relations with its Asian neighbours. Japan’s coastguard confirmed the Chinese vessels had entered waters near the East China Sea island chain.The maritime surveillance ships entered the 12-nautical-mile zone off the Senkaku chain of islands, which China calls the Diaoyu, about 8am (9am AEST), the Japan Coast Guard said in a statement.

News source: canberratimes.com.au

China calls on Japan to stop scrambling its fighters

National Apr. 19, 2013 – 06:40AM JST ( 40 )

BEIJING —

China called on Japan on Thursday to stop sending jets up against Chinese aircraft after Japan said it had scrambled its fighters twice as often in the past year amid a territorial dispute.

The number of scrambles against Chinese planes nearly doubled to 306 in the year that ended in March. That accounted for the increase in the overall number from 425 to 567, the highest level in 22 years, Japan’s Defense Ministry said.

China and Japan have been involved in an increasingly acrimonious stand-off over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

“We all know that when it comes to the Diaoyu Islands issue Japan has been continuously taking provocative actions to raise tensions. This is the root cause of the present very tense situation over the islands,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

Japan, she said, should instead “show more sincerity and take practical steps to work hard with China to find a way to appropriately manage and resolve the problem through dialogue, talks and consultations. This would be best for both countries.”

The waters around the disputed islands are rich fishing grounds and have potentially huge oil and gas reserves.

The dispute has escalated in recent months to the point where China and Japan have scrambled fighter jets while patrol ships shadow each other, raising fear that an unintended collision could lead to a broader clash.

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2013

 

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/china-calls-on-japan-to-reduce-jet-scrambles

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

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

TOKYO —

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

U.S., Japan review plans for retaking disputed islands

National Mar. 21, 2013 – 06:05PM JST ( 52 )

U.S., Japan review plans for retaking disputed islands
Disputed islands claimed by China and controlled by JapanAFP

WASHINGTON  —

U.S. and Japanese officers are discussing worst-case contingency plans for retaking disputed islands in the East China Sea if China moves to seize them, U.S. officials say.

Japan’s Nikkei newspaper first reported the talks, which prompted a strong reaction from China.

“We have contingency plans and we discuss them with allies,” a U.S. official told AFP speaking on condition of anonymity, saying it was “natural” that the two governments would confer on emergency scenarios given recent tensions.

A Pentagon official, who also asked not to be quoted by name, confirmed the discussions, saying “we’re a planning organization.”

But both sources said the U.S. government did not want to fuel tensions, and that the contingency planning would be only one of many topics on the agenda when top US and Japanese officers meet in Hawaii on Thursday.

Admiral Samuel Locklear, head of the U.S. Pacific Command, is scheduled to host General Shigeru Iwasaki, chief of the Japanese Self Defense Forces Joint Staff, for Thursday’s talks.

Officially, the Pentagon would neither confirm nor deny whether the contingency plans were under discussion.

“As a matter of policy, we do not discuss our military planning efforts,” said Lt Col Catherine Wilkinson.

“The U.S. policy on the Senkaku Islands is long-standing. We encourage the claimants to resolve the issue through peaceful means,” she said, using the Japanese name for the islands.

The United States has made clear that its alliance with Tokyo applies to the islands, raising the possibility of US military action in support of Japan if China moves to seize them.

Beijing and Tokyo both claim the islands, which the Chinese call the Diaoyu.

The dispute has escalated in recent months, with Beijing repeatedly sending ships to waters around the islands to back up its claims. Tokyo has alleged that a Chinese frigate locked its radar on a Japanese destroyer in January.

In a faxed response to a query, China’s defense ministry said it had seen the Nikkei report and reiterated Beijing’s stance that the islands belong to China.

“The determination and will of Chinese military forces to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are steadfast,” the ministry said.

“We firmly oppose any action that could further complicate and magnify the situation.”

China’s newly installed President Xi Jinping is vowing to fight for a “great renaissance of the Chinese nation.” Xi has close ties to China’s expanding military, and called for the armed forces to strengthen their ability to “win battles.”

Japan too has expressed a new strain of nationalistic rhetoric under its hawkish prime minister, Shinzo Abe, who has urged new graduates of the National Defense Academy to guard the country against “provocations.”

Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party pledged at its annual convention last Sunday to accelerate efforts to reform Japan’s pacifist postwar constitution and create a fully fledged military.

© 2013 AFP

 

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/u-s-japan-review-plans-for-retaking-disputed-islands

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

http://www.asianewsnet.net/China-stands-firm-on-islands-43462.html

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.

 

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20130205-400339.html

Chinese scholar warns on Japan’s ‘fast turn right’: “Today it will jeopardize China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Tomorrow it will do the same to yours if unchecked,”

Kyodo

Jan 23, 2013

HONG KONG – A scholar at a Chinese Foreign Ministry think tank warned Tuesday that Japan’s political turn to the right must be checked before its negative effects spread through the region.Ruan Zongze, vice president and a senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, said during a luncheon address at Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club that Japan is “turning right fast” amid its territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

“What it has done in the Diaoyu Islands issue is more than a territory dispute with China,” he said, suggesting Japan is turning a blind eye to the international agreements made at the conclusion of World War II by claiming that the disputed islands are its territory.

“Today it will jeopardize China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Tomorrow it will do the same to yours if unchecked,” he warned.

China says the uninhabited islets have been Chinese territory since ancient times and accuses Japan of “stealing” them in 1895 at the end of the Sino-Japanese War. It insists Japan, after its defeat in World War II, was obligated by treaties to return them to China.

Japan dismisses those arguments, pointing out that China and Taiwan only began to lay claim to the islands after a survey conducted by a U.N. agency in late 1968 indicated the possible existence of petroleum resources in the surrounding waters.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2013/01/23/national/chinese-scholar-warns-on-japans-fast-turn-right/#.UQOOYIbTnbg

Diaoyutai Serves as Backdrop for Taiwan Drill

Jan. 25, 2013 – 11:50AM
By WENDELL MINNICK   |
Members of Taiwan's Military Journalists Association were wearing a new patch with the phrase “Diaoyutai Is Ours!”, which included the image of a Taiwan soldier planting the Republic of China flag on the summit of the island, during recent exercises there.

Members of Taiwan’s Military Journalists Association were wearing a new patch with the phrase “Diaoyutai Is Ours!”, which included the image of a Taiwan soldier planting the Republic of China flag on the summit of the island, during recent exercises there.   (Wendell Minnick / Staff)

KAOHSIUNG/HUALIEN — Taiwan’s military demonstrated its preparedness for any contingencies in the upcoming Chinese New Year holidays during a two-day tri-service drill Jan. 22-23.

The annual Combat Readiness Tri-Service Exercises are held before the beginning of each Chinese New Year, as a message to China and other potential adversaries that Taiwan remains alert during a time of celebration when much of the government is shuttered.

Though none of the exercises was aimed at demonstrating Taiwan’s political position on the ownership of the disputed Diaoyutai Islands with Japan (also known as the Senkaku Islands), the quarrel was not far from the minds of military officials and local journalists covering the event.

Members of Taiwan’s Military Journalists Association were wearing a new patch with the phrase “Diaoyutai Is Ours!”, which included the image of a Taiwan soldier planting the Republic of China flag on the summit of the island. One of the journalists said members of the association were distributing the patches to show support for Taiwan’s territorial claims.

Emotional expressions of support by Taiwanese for invading the islands are not new. In 1990, Taiwan’s military assembled a special operations unit of 45 soldiers to land on the main island of Diaoyu Dao (Uotsuri-jima) by helicopter. Exercise Han Chiang’s mission was to destroy a lighthouse erected at the time by Japanese rightists. Taiwan’s then-President Lee Tung-hui reportedly halted the mission.

As recently as Jan. 22, Taiwanese Minister of Foreign Affairs David Y.L. Lin said that the Diaoyutai Islands were Taiwan territory and an “appendage of Taiwan.” Further, “on this main point we cannot make concessions,” he said, but added that the government favored peaceful joint development of the area for fishing and other resources.

In August, Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou proposed a five-point initiative for all parties to refrain from antagonistic actions; not abandon dialogue; observe international law; resolve disputes through peaceful means; and form a mechanism for exploring and developing resources on a cooperative basis.

However, Ma appears to have little control over Taiwan fishing boats and political activists who continue to harass Japanese Coast Guard vessels over the Diaoyutai issue.

Day One of Exercises

On day one, the military demonstrated anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Taiwan Strait with a combined effort of air and sea anti-submarine warfare platforms locating and flushing to the surface an “enemy” submarine. The Dutch-built SS 793 Hai Lung (Sea Dragon) attack submarine played the aggressor.

The air elements included an S-70C helicopter and S-2T Turbo Tracker fixed-wing aircraft. The press observed the exercise aboard the PFG-1206 Di Hua Lafayette-class frigate, which was escorted by the PFG-1105 Chi Kuang and PFG-1109 Chang Chien Perry-class frigates.

The Navy’s refurbished 900-ton Osprey minehunters, MHC 1310 Yung Jin and MHC 1311 Yung An, obtained in August from the U.S. Navy, participated in the exercise. The vessels are equipped with Raytheon AN/SQQ-32 minehunting sonars, AN/SLQ-48 mine-neutralizing vehicles and two .50-caliber heavy machine guns.

Taiwan has been dependent on 1950s era minehunting vessels, such as the four Yung Yang-class (ex-U.S. Agile-class), four Yung Chia-class (ex-U.S. Adjutant-class) coastal minesweepers, and four German-built Yung Feng-class minehunters obtained in 1991.

Taiwan’s requirement for minehunting capabilities is based on fears China will mine the Tsoying Naval Base in the southwestern city of Kaohsiung and the Keelung Naval Base in northern Taiwan. A naval blockade is one of several probable scenarios experts warn China could use to intimidate Taiwan.

Also on maneuvers were six of the new stealthy Kuang Hua 6 fast-attack missile patrol boats armed with Hsiung Feng 2 anti-ship missiles.

The captain of the Di Hua, Peng Kuo-chou, said the exercise was a success and demonstrated the Navy’s anti-submarine and minehunting capabilities.

Day Two of Exercises

On day two, the exercise continued on the east coast at Hualien City, home of the Huadong Defense Command, which covers the defense of Hualien and Taitung. It is also known as the East Coast Defense Command.

The Army demonstrated the deployment of 10 M60A3 main battle tanks (MBT) along with an infantry deployment from armored personnel vehicles (APC). Static displays included the M60A3, CM22 (M106) tracked Mortar Carrier, M113A1/A2 tracked APC, and CM26 (M577) tracked command post carrier (CM = China Made and/or Made in Taiwan).

Taiwan’s military has an impressive array of tanks, including the M41D Walker Bulldog light tank, CM11/CM12 105mm MBT (modeled after the M48/M60), M48 and M60A3 MBT. Wheeled APCs include the four-wheeled V-150 Commando and the eight-wheeled Cloud Leopard infantry fighting vehicle. The Army has considered procuring the AM General-built four-wheeled Cobra armored light vehicle, but no decision has been made.

The final phase of the exercise occurred at the Hualien Air Force Base, home of the 401st (5th) Tactical Composite Wing. The wing comprises the 17th, 26th and 27th Tactical Fighter Group, made up of F-16A/B Block 20 fighter aircraft. It also comprises the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Tigergazers) outfitted with nine RF-16 and five RF-5E Tiger aircraft.

A Taiwan defense official at the base said the RF-5E Tigers are still equipped with the older nose cameras, but the RF-16s are equipped with the AN/VDS-5 LOROP-EO (long-range oblique photographic) sensor pod.

The Taiwan defense source said the RF-16s had flown surveillance missions in the vicinity of the Diaoyutai Islands during recent problems with Taiwan fishing vessels confronting the Japanese Coast Guard.

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130125/DEFREG03/301250019/Diaoyutai-Serves-Backdrop-Taiwan-Drill?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

Ministry may base F-15s near Miyakojima to counter Chinese intrusions faster

Kyodo

The Defense Ministry is thinking of stationing F-15 fighter jets at a remote airport halfway from Naha to Taiwan to speed up its response to airspace incursions by China near the disputed Senkaku Islands, government sources said Monday.

The planes would be stationed on Shimojijima Island, which is much closer to the Japan-administered Senkakus, which China claims as the Diaoyu, than to Okinawa’s prefectural capital Naha, where the Air Self-Defense Force’s F-15s are based.

But since Shimojijima Airport is not equipped for military use, the ministry would have to make several modifications before shifting the fighters over from Okinawa Island, the sources said. The island is right next to better known Miyakojima Island.

In mid-December, when a Chinese government plane entered Japanese airspace over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the ASDF scrambled eight F-15 jets from the base in Naha. By the time they got near the disputed islands, however, the plane in question had left.

On Jan. 5, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Defense Ministry officials to strengthen Japan’s border security measures.

Naha Air Base is about 420 km away from the Senkakus, which means it takes around 15 to 20 minutes for an F-15 to get there after an emergency takeoff.

Shimojijima Airport, which is administered by the Okinawa Prefectural Government, is about 190 km southeast of the Senkakus and has a 3,000-meter-long runway.

In 1971, a year before Okinawa’s reversion from the United States to Japan, the Japanese government and the then-government of the Ryukyu Islands concluded a memorandum of understanding stating that the airport would not be used for purposes other than civil aviation.

The central government also exchanged a confirmation note to that effect with then-Okinawa Gov. Junji Nishime.

Based on those documents, some government officials say it would be difficult for the SDF to use the airport. But in 2004, the central government fudged its stance in a written reply to questions posed in the Diet, saying “it is not that the use of (Shimojijima Airport) for pilot training and by aircraft other than commercial planes is not permitted.”

The Japanese and U.S. governments consider the airport a potential base for disaster relief for contingencies in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Japan Times:     Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013

China to survey islands disputed with Japan

Jan 15, 2013 11:17 Moscow Time

Острова Сенкаку в китайской картографии – Дяоюйдао

Photo: EPA

 

China is to carry out a geographical survey of islands in the East China Sea at the centre of a bitter dispute with Japan.

The survey of the Diaoyu islands was part of a programme to map China’s “territorial islands and reefs”, Xinhua said, citing a state geographical agency. They are known as the Senkaku in Japan, which controls them.

Voice of Russia, Xinhua, AFP

http://english.ruvr.ru/2013_01_15/China-to-survey-islands-disputed-with-Japan/

 

“Regarding Senkaku, there is no change to my position to resolutely protect this water and territory. There is no room for negotiation on this,”

Japan PM criticises targeting of firms in China row

AFP Friday, Jan 11, 2013

TOKYO – China was “wrong” to deliberately target Japanese business interests as part of a state campaign in a row over disputed territory, Japan’s hawkish new prime minister Shinzo Abe said on Friday.

“For political ends, harming Japanese companies and individuals in China that contribute to the Chinese economy and society – I want to say it is wrong for a responsible nation state in the international community,” Mr Abe said.

“It not only harms bilateral relations, it has a significantly negative influence on China’s economy and its society,” he said at a news conference in the latest barb aimed at China.

Japan’s ties with China have remained tense for months as the two nations repeatedly stage maritime standoffs in waters around disputed isles called the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.

Chinese government ships have been seen off the disputed islands numerous times since Japan nationalised them in September, sometimes within the 12 nautical mile territorial zone.

A state-owned Chinese plane flew through airspace over the islands early last month. Tokyo responded by scrambling fighter jets and said it was the first time Beijing had breached its airspace since at least 1958.

“Regarding Senkaku, there is no change to my position to resolutely protect this water and territory. There is no room for negotiation on this,” Mr Abe said.

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%2BNews/Asia/Story/A1Story20130111-394768.html

 

China and Japan step up drone race as tension builds over disputed islands

Both countries claim drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn of future skirmishes in region’s airspace

 

China-Japan tensions

The row between China and Japan over the disputed islands – called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan – has escalated recently. Photograph: AP

Drones have taken centre stage in an escalating arms race between China and Japan as they struggle to assert their dominance over disputed islands in the East China Sea.

China is rapidly expanding its nascent drone programme, while Japan has begun preparations to purchase an advanced model from the US. Both sides claim the drones will be used for surveillance, but experts warn the possibility of future drone skirmishes in the region’s airspace is “very high”.

Tensions over the islands – called the Diaoyu by China and the Senkaku by Japan – have ratcheted up in past weeks. Chinese surveillance planes flew near the islands four times in the second half of December, according to Chinese state media, but were chased away each time by Japanese F-15 fighter jets. Neither side has shown any signs of backing down.

Japan’s new conservative administration of Shinzo Abe has placed a priority on countering the perceived Chinese threat to the Senkakus since it won a landslide victory in last month’s general election. Soon after becoming prime minister, Abe ordered a review of Japan’s 2011-16 mid-term defence programme, apparently to speed up the acquisition of between one and three US drones.

Under Abe, a nationalist who wants a bigger international role for the armed forces, Japan is expected to increase defence spending for the first time in 11 years in 2013. The extra cash will be used to increase the number of military personnel and upgrade equipment. The country’s deputy foreign minister, Akitaka Saiki, summoned the Chinese ambassador to Japan on Tuesday to discuss recent “incursions” of Chinese ships into the disputed territory.

China appears unbowed. “Japan has continued to ignore our warnings that their vessels and aircraft have infringed our sovereignty,” top-level marine surveillance official Sun Shuxian said in an interview posted to the State Oceanic Administration’s website, according to Reuters. “This behaviour may result in the further escalation of the situation at sea and has prompted China to pay great attention and vigilance.”

China announced late last month that the People’s Liberation Army was preparing to test-fly a domestically developed drone, which analysts say is likely a clone of the US’s carrier-based X-47B. “Key attack technologies will be tested,” reported the state-owned China Daily, without disclosing further details.

Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of the Canadian-based Kanwa Defence Review, said China might be attempting to develop drones that can perform reconnaissance missions as far away as Guam, where the US is building a military presence as part of its “Asia Pivot” strategy.

China unveiled eight new models in November at an annual air show on the southern coastal city Zhuhai, photographs of which appeared prominently in the state-owned press. Yet the images may better indicate China’s ambitions than its abilities, according to Chang: “We’ve seen these planes on the ground only — if they work or not, that’s difficult to explain.”

Japanese media reports said the defence ministry hopes to introduce Global Hawk unmanned aircraft near the disputed islands by 2015 at the earliest in an attempt to counter Beijing’s increasingly assertive naval activity in the area.

Chinese surveillance vessels have made repeated intrusions into Japanese waters since the government in Tokyo in effect nationalised the Senkakus in the summer, sparking riots in Chinese cities and damaging trade ties between Asia’s two biggest economies.

The need for Japan to improve its surveillance capability was underlined late last year when Japanese radar failed to pick up a low-flying Chinese aircraft as it flew over the islands.

The Kyodo news agency quoted an unnamed defence ministry official as saying the drones would be used “to counter China’s growing assertiveness at sea, especially when it comes to the Senkaku islands”.

China’s defence budget has exploded over the past decade, from about £12.4bn in 2002 to almost £75bn in 2011, and its military spending could surpass the US’s by 2035. The country’s first aircraft carrier, a refurbished Soviet model called the Liaoning, completed its first sea trials in August.

A 2012 report by the Pentagon acknowledged long-standing rumours that China was developing a new generation of stealth drones, called Anjian, or Dark Sword, whose capabilities could surpass those of the US’s fleet.

China’s state media reported in October that the country would build 11 drone bases along the coastline by 2015. “Over disputed islands, such as the Diaoyu Islands, we do not lag behind in terms of the number of patrol vessels or the frequency of patrolling,” said Senior Colonel Du Wenlong, according to China Radio International. “The problem lies in our surveillance capabilities.”

China’s military is notoriously opaque, and analysts’ understanding of its drone programme is limited. “They certainly get a lot of mileage out of the fact that nobody knows what the hell they’re up to, and they’d take great care to protect that image,” said Ron Huisken, an expert on east Asian security at Australian National University.

He said the likelihood of a skirmish between Chinese and Japanese drones in coming years was “very high”.

US drones have also attracted the interest of the South Korean government as it seeks to beef up its ability to monitor North Korea, after last month’s successful launch of a rocket that many believe was a cover for a ballistic-missile test.

The US’s Global Hawk is piloted remotely by a crew of three and can fly continuously for up to 30 hours at a maximum height of about 60,000 ft. It has no attack capability.

The US deployed the advanced reconnaissance drone to monitor damage to the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on Japan’s north-east coast.

Japan summons China’s envoy in latest escalation of tension over disputed islands

News On Japan via New York Times — Jan 09

 

The Japanese Foreign Ministry summoned China’s ambassador on Tuesday after Chinese ships entered Japanese-controlled waters for 13 hours, a prolonged incursion that seemed to escalate a standoff over a group of disputed islands.

 

The ministry said the deputy foreign minister, Akitaka Saiki, strongly protested the incursion on Monday by four Chinese surveillance ships near the islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The uninhabited island chain, near Okinawa, has been controlled by Japan for decades but is also claimed by China and Taiwan.The Chinese ambassador, Cheng Yonghua, responded by saying the islands belong to China and that Japanese ships had no right to be there, the ministry said.

中国の海洋監視船が、尖閣諸島周辺の日本の領海内に長時間侵入したことを受け、政府は8日、中国の程永華駐日大使を呼び、厳重に抗議した。

http://newsonjapan.com/html/newsdesk/article/100419.php

 

Poll: Two-thirds of Chinese boycotted Japanese goods over Senkakus dispute

Kyodo

Two-thirds of Chinese boycotted Japanese products and almost all Chinese feel anti-Japan sentiment has intensified in the world’s second-largest economy since the government purchased three the Senkaku islets in September, a Kyodo News online survey revealed Saturday.

The findings also highlighted a disparity in the way Chinese and Japanese view one another, with roughly one-third of the Chinese respondents feeling they can still trust Japan despite the Senkakus territorial row, while only 5 percent of the Japanese polled gave a similar answer.

More than 65 percent of both the Japanese and Chinese respondents said they have not felt like visiting the other country since Japan in mid-September effectively nationalized the Senkaku islet chain claimed by Beijing in the East China Sea, according to the survey.

Asked whether ties between the two nations need to improve, 71 percent of the Chinese respondents and 60 percent of the Japanese polled agreed.

The survey was conducted by research firms Searchina (Shanghai) Co., based in Shanghai, and Nippon Research Center Ltd. in Tokyo from late November through early December. Searchina selected 1,000 Chinese from some 550,000 people registered with the company in China, and Nippon Research chose 1,000 Japanese from some 260,000 people who responded to the poll in Japan.

On the violent anti-Japanese demonstrations that broke out across China in September, 24 percent of the Chinese respondents said they had taken part in the protests, but 74 percent of those polled said that although they can understand the feelings of the demonstrators, their behavior went too far.

The survey also found that 63 percent of the Chinese polled were unaware that Japan had offered yen loans of more than ¥3 trillion to China.

The Japan Times:     Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013

China doc recognized islands as Japan’s

News On Japan via presstv.com — Dec 30

 

A Chinese official document drafted in 1950 recognizes Japan as the owner of a group of islands in the East China Sea, which Beijing also lays claim to.

 

The 20-page document, revealed by Japan Times newspaper on Friday, referred to the islands, which are known as Diaoyu in China, with their Japanese name Senkakus.Filed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the document describes the disputed islands as part of the Ryukyu Islands, today known as Okinawa.

The document was completed in May 1970, nearly seven months after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party.

中国が沖縄近くまで大陸棚の延長を国連に申請したのに対し、日本政府は28日、延長申請を検討しないよう求める口上書を提出しました。

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.

沖縄県の尖閣諸島の上空で中国の国家海洋局所属の航空機が13日午前、領空侵犯していたことが明らかに成りました。

Japan scrambles fighters after Chinese plane enters disputed airspace

Dec 13, 2012 10:21 Moscow Time

Острова Сенкаку в китайской картографии – Дяоюйдао

Photo: EPA

Japan scrambled fighter jets on Thursday after at least one Chinese state-owned aeroplane entered airspace over the islands at the centre of a dispute between Tokyo and Beijing.

F-15 jets were mobilized after Chinese maritime aircraft entered airspace over the Senkaku islands, which China calls the Diaoyus, just after 11 a.m. (0200 GMT), Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura told reporters. Mr. Fujimura has blamed China for violating Japan’s airspace.

This is the first time fighter jets have been used in the Senkaku dispute. So far, China has only resorted to moving its patrol ships to the islands Japan believes to lie in its territorial waters.

Record 81% of Japanese feel no friendship toward China, government survey shows

Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012
Jiji

More than 80 percent of Japanese harbor no sense of friendship toward China, an annual survey by the Cabinet Office revealed Saturday.

Some 80.6 percent of respondents said they have no friendly feelings toward the country, a rise of 9.2 points from the previous year and the highest level on record since the inaugural survey was conducted in 1978, the Cabinet Office announced.

The previous record of 77.8 percent who expressed anti-Chinese sentiment was set in 2010, after a Chinese trawler rammed two coast guard cutters trying to shoo it out of Japanese territorial waters off the disputed Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu as they are called by Beijing.

Meanwhile, the number of respondents who voiced friendly feelings toward China slumped 8.3 points to just 18 percent, according to the Cabinet Office.

The findings reflect the heightened tensions between the two countries following Japan’s nationalization Sept. 11 of three of the five Senkaku islets, whose sovereignty is fiercely contested by Beijing, in the East China Sea, a Foreign Ministry official noted.

The survey also showed that the number of people who do not feel bilateral relations with China are proceeding smoothly jumped to an all-time high 92.8 percent, up 16.5 points from the last survey. Only 4.8 percent felt the Sino-Japanese relationship is in a healthy state, a year-on-year plunge of some 14 points.

Meanwhile, the poll also revealed that 59 percent of respondents do not view South Korea in a friendly manner, a steep jump of 23.7 points from last year, while those who voiced positive sentiment plummeted 23 points to 39.2 percent, dropping below 40 percent for the first time in 15 years.

The results were mainly attributed to South Korean President Lee Myung Bak’s unprecedented visit Aug. 10 to the Takeshima Islands in the Sea of Japan. The barren outcroppings fall under the jurisdiction of Seoul, which calls them Dokdo, but Tokyo has long claimed them as part of Shimane Prefecture.

In contrast, the proportion of people who view the United States as a friend of Japan rose 2.5 points to 84.5 percent. Those who feel negatively toward the U.S. declined 1.8 points to 13.7 percent.

The Cabinet Office conducted the survey from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7, canvassing 3,000 adults nationwide. Valid responses were received from 61.3 percent of those polled.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121125a4.html

Chinese official says ‘no time limit’ on ships sailing near Senkakus ” “important” for China to “safeguard” China’s claim to the islands”

Monday, Nov. 12, 2012

Kyodo

HONG KONG — The head of China’s Oceanic Administration has said there is “no time limit” on Chinese patrol vessels sailing near the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Sunday.

 

The Ming Pao daily, in a report from Beijing, quoted Oceanic Administration Secretary Liu Cigui as saying it is “important” for China to “safeguard” China’s claim to the islands, which are called Diaoyu by China.

Liu, a former official in Fujian Province in China’s southeast, was promoted to the Oceanic Administration early last year, the newspaper said.

He also called Hong Kong activists who have landed on the disputed islands in the past “patriots,” the Ming Pao reported.

Earlier, in Naha, the Japan Coast Guard said Chinese surveillance vessels sailed Sunday in an area just outside Japanese territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands, a major source of recent friction between the two countries, for the 23rd straight day since Oct. 20.

Since Wednesday, four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels have been in the contiguous zone near the group of islets in the East China Sea, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture.

The coast guard said it warned the Chinese vessels over the radio not to enter Japanese territorial waters. But one of the vessels responded that it was on a regular patrol of areas administrated by China.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121112a3.html

China accepts Japanese runners for Beijing Marathon in about-face

BEIJING (Kyodo) — The organizer of the Nov. 25 Beijing Marathon has started accepting applications from Japanese runners, reversing its initial stance of refusing them, Kyodo News learned Sunday.

The organizer had earlier removed “Japan” from the nationalities on the application form on its official website, probably in the face of a bilateral territorial row over a group of islets, prompting the Japanese Embassy in Beijing to request it to accept Japanese runners.

The two countries have been at odds over the sovereignty of the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.

November 11, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

 

http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20121111p2g00m0dm062000c.html

Beijing marathon bars Japanese runners due to safety concerns

Sports Nov. 11, 2012 – 06:24AM JST( 20 )

TOKYO  —

Organizers of the Beijing marathon have barred Japanese runners from taking part due to safety concerns after a fresh flare-up in a territorial dispute between Japan and China, a report said Saturday.

“If they choose other nationalities including China, Japanese can take part,” the influential newspaper Asahi Shimbun’s online edition quoted a source at the organising committee of the Nov 25 marathon as saying.

The committee made the decision by taking into consideration the safety of athletes, the daily said in a report from the Chinese capital.

Japanese companies such as Canon had sponsored the annual event until last year but they are not sponsoring it this year.

Already 26,000 people have signed up for the marathon since its registration process began on Thursday, Asahi said.

Japan was included in the nationality section in the marathon’s online registration page until last year but has been deleted this year, it added.

In Beijing, officials from the organising committee were not immediately available to comment on the report.

Tokyo’s nationalization of islands that are at the centre of a territorial row with Beijing sparked violent mass anti-Japan demonstrations in Chinese cities in September. Japanese nationals, businesses and diplomatic missions were targeted.

Japanese and Chinese athletes have since pulled out of several sporting events in both countries due to safety concerns.

But Japanese figure skating stars took part without any incident in the Cup of China Grand Prix event in Shanghai last week as they were escorted by bodyguards and Chinese-speaking coordinators.

© 2012 AFP

http://www.japantoday.com/category/sports/view/beijing-marathon-bars-japanese-runners-due-to-safety-concerns