News / Asia

Japan Decision Raises Stakes in Island Dispute

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, September 2, 2011.
Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura speaks during a news conference in Tokyo, September 2, 2011.
William Ide
BEIJING — Japan’s decision Monday to purchase disputed islands China says are part of its territory is raising tensions between the two Asian neighbors.  

Following a meeting of Japanese government leaders, Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura announced Tokyo’s plans to push forward with the deal and Japan’s aims to nationalize the uninhabited islands.

The islands, which are located near rich fishing grounds and near waters believed to hold potential oil reserves, are known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

Fujimura tried to play down the potential impact of the decision, stressing that Japan was just transferring ownership of the land from private to state hands.

Fujimura says Japan does not want the issue to interfere with Sino-Japanese relations. He says it is important to avoid misunderstandings and Tokyo has been keeping in close contact with China over the issue through diplomatic channels.

The decision comes just a day after Chinese President Hu Jintao warned Japan against making any wrong decisions over the dispute.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a stern statement chastising Japan over the decision and noting the days of bullying China are over. The statement said the Chinese government will not sit back and watch as its sovereignty is violated.

China Foreign Affairs University Political Scientist  Wang Fan says the government is likely to take some tough measures against Tokyo in response.

Wang says the Japanese government should know that by acting this way there will be consequences, and it will have to face those consequences. He says Japan’s decision could have a big impact on trade and diplomatic relations.

Just how far the situation could escalate is unclear.

The last time tensions rose severely between Japan and China was in 2010, when a Japanese coast guard ship collided with a Chinese trawler it was chasing away from the disputed islands.

After Japanese authorities decided to detain the Chinese captain of the ship, Beijing responded by suspending political and cultural exchanges and stopping the export of rare earths to Japan.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Avery from: JP
September 11, 2012 12:59 AM
These comments clearly written by Chinese nationalists cannot have been from America. Any Americans who look into this will realize that the Senkakus have always been Japanese territory, and there is nothing irrational at all about the government buying Japanese land to protect it.

In Response

by: Neil from: CN
September 11, 2012 9:13 PM
It is there on the headline, despite of ur doubts, I've no idea how you guys are fooled by ur government by making up new history books, the thing is JP has never abandons ur millitary expansion dreams, Let's see if it works. U push us this hard, then ready to welcome our missles and nude.

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
September 11, 2012 4:35 PM
Of couse, everyone knows they are not americans, but sleeper cells that were put in place by mainland communist China (they are all over the world now to carry out the motherland's directive to steal other countries' industrial technology & state secrets)
By the way, I think you mean Mainland communist chinese, not the nationalist chinese ( Taiwanese )


by: Walten from: US
September 10, 2012 9:33 PM
Even though Japanese citizens are eager to wide their territory of mainland, with regard to Diaoyu islands, Japan ignores the real history with misleading of irrational enthusiasm... Japan government is arrogantly playing fire with its strong Asian partners for its own political election now...


by: Peter from: DC
September 10, 2012 9:22 PM
We don't know why Japan wants to nationalize Diaoyu which doesn't belong to itself. And Japan says it doesn't want the issue to interfere with Sino-Japanese relations. We are wondering whether China can be tolerant of the dishonorable conduct.

In Response

by: jonathan huang from: canada
September 14, 2012 8:25 PM
norman from HK, i dont think you are from HK or you are a shame of HK just after brave hongkongers landed Diaoyu island. You are just a brain washed ignorant. China told Japan to focus on economic cooperation and leave Diaoyu island dispute to the next generation, this conversation between then Chinese and Japanese PMs was recorded and it is the first base of relationship between Japan and China (communist). and Taiwan hongkong also protested against the illegal transfer of Diaoyu island in 70's between US and Japan. read some history before you post nonsense here.

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
September 11, 2012 4:51 PM
well said, Norman

The same thing China did to south vietnam's paracel islands (Hoang Sa) in 1974 , then further south ,part of the Spratly group (Truong Sa) from Vietnam in 1988, the other part of Spratly from Philippines in 1995 . and lately in 2012 the Scarborough Shoal of Philippines .
Communist China invades and claims other countries' islands when they smell oil & gas

In Response

by: norman from: Hong Kong
September 11, 2012 2:28 AM
If it doesn't belong to Japan, why did America return it to Japan after the war? Why did Taiwan and China did not lay claims to the islands before 1970's when the rich seabed was not discovered yet? Please know what you say before you make such statement. It was uncontested Japanese islands only after rich seabed is found.... that is greedy part of Taiwan and China who bully Japan for its past, not the other way around.


by: White Hat from: Japan
September 10, 2012 8:23 PM
VOA reporters have to be more careful in writing the news.
", when a Japanese coast guard ship collided with a Chinese trawler it was chasing away from the disputed islands."----This should have been described in the following manner: ", when a Japanese coast guard ship was intentionally hit by a Chinese trawler that invaded the Japanese inherent territory." Although tens of thousands of enemies invade, they are all rabbles. Justice (supported by international law and history) lies on Japan side. Evil never wins. Justice always defeats evil. It is high time Japan put away its generous policy for gangster Chinese and reinforced its military as once chased and drove Chinese paper fleets.

In Response

by: Timmy from: Ottawa
September 11, 2012 11:07 AM
Please! Read the history before making any comment, especially Japanese ppl. I know you guys changed history text book @school, but you can't change the history!

In Response

by: foreverfuckjapan
September 11, 2012 2:08 AM
"...reinforced its military" Forget japan's fate at the end of World war Two? military japan is doomed!

"...japanese coast guard ship was intentionally hit by a Chinese trawler..." who hit who? Which one is bigger?! Liar! Shameless Liar!

In Response

by: REBECCA from: CHINA
September 11, 2012 1:29 AM
Diaoyu Islands belong to China always! Get out of it, you Japanese!

In Response

by: Roger from: SH
September 11, 2012 12:34 AM
If you realy read the international law and the history,you can kown how outrageous is Japanese goverment!Chinese people love peace.But guys like you in Japan will lead Japan to perdition.

In Response

by: Betty from: US
September 10, 2012 11:38 PM
Yes, justice wins. That's why US and China defeated Japan during WWII.

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