News

Japan to Allow Test Drilling in Disputed Part of East China Sea

Multimedia

Audio

In a move likely to further exacerbate tension between Tokyo and Beijing, Japan has announced it will begin granting concessions for test drilling for natural gas and oil in waters disputed with China.

As frustrations rise in Japan over recent Chinese statements and protests, the government has announced it will allow Japanese companies to begin exploring an underwater gas field in the East China Sea.

The field lies in waters both China and Japan claim and the announcement on drilling may worsen tensions between the two countries. Relations have turned bitter in the past week after Chinese crowds damaged Japanese diplomatic missions and businesses in protests over how two new Japanese textbooks refer to Japan's invasion of China in the last century.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda on Wednesday said the timing of the announcement has no connection with any other bilateral issues. He says the timing is a coincidence and is an industrial issue, not a political one.

The Chinese are unlikely to see it that way.

Japan says its exclusive economic zone extends to the line midway between its coast and China. Beijing, however, claims its economic zone goes beyond that boundary, closer to Japan.

Japan's Trade Ministry last week notified the Chinese that it would likely allow Japanese drilling if Beijing continued to refuse Tokyo's requests for additional information on its gas projects in the same area. Japan also has asked China to halt its activities in the disputed area.

Beijing has refused to discuss the matter, and one Chinese official on Tuesday warned Tokyo not to award drilling rights, saying that doing so would "fundamentally change the issue."

The state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation plans to begin drilling in the area in August. The company says it expects to extract up to one billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from the field. Japan contends the activity could suck up gas from its territory.

Japan for four decades has held off granting exploration concessions in the East China Sea, wanting to avoid aggravating the territorial dispute.

The United States weighed in on the matter Tuesday, saying that is important for China and Japan to solve disputes peacefully. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Tuesday called the outbursts in China "very regrettable."

"China does have a responsibility to prevent violence against foreign missions in Beijing," said Mr. Boucher. "We think that it's very regrettable that this one did turn violent and was not under control."

Over the past several days leaders from China have blamed Japan for the worsening relations and demanded that Japan fully admit to and apologize for its invasion and abuses in the first half of the 20th century. Japanese leaders, on the other hand, insist that Beijing must protect Japanese citizens and property in China.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs