News / Asia

Japanese Activists Land on Disputed Islands

A Japanese activist waves the country's flag after landing on a group of islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, August 19, 2012.
A Japanese activist waves the country's flag after landing on a group of islands known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, August 19, 2012.
TOKYO — Japanese activists have landed on disputed islands in the East China Sea amid escalating diplomatic tensions with China.  The landing came two days after Japanese authorities expelled Chinese activists who had landed in the same islands carrying the flags of China and Taiwan.

The Japanese activists, including local assembly members, landed Sunday on one of the disputed islands known in Japan as Senkaku.  Controlled by Japan, the uninhabited islands are also claimed by China and Taiwan, where they are called Diaoyu.  The area is rich in natural gas and fishing resources.

The Japanese group sailed to the islands aboard a flotilla carrying about 150 people, ostensibly to commemorate the sinking of a ship during the closing stages of World War Two.

Japanese media reports say five local lawmakers, most of them from Tokyo, and five journalists managed to disembark despite being denied official permission.  Television images showed them waving Japanese flags on the rocky shore.

Lawmaker Koichi Mukoyama, from the ruling Democratic Party of Japan, was aboard one of the ships in the flotilla.

"Four days ago, there was an illegal landing of Chinese people on the island, as such, we need to solidly reaffirm that the islands are part of our own territory," he said.

Another DPJ lawmaker, Koichiro Katsumata, also stressed the need to emphasize Japan’s sovereignty.

"We're in a critical situation" he says, "because Japan's management of the islands is insufficient. There's only limited physical evidence to show to the world that this is our territory."

China’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the landings, saying they are an attempt to undermine the country’s sovereignty.

Anti-Japanese demonstrations that began after the arrest and deportation of Chinese activists last week are also intensifying.  Television images showed protestors in the city of Shenzhen overturning Japanese-made cars, including a police vehicle.

Japan’s ambassador in Beijing was quoted as urging Chinese authorities to do their utmost to protect Japanese interests in the country.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
August 20, 2012 3:04 PM
Does the Japanese government change this part of history book again? How could that many Japanese say Diaoyu island belongs to Japan with no shame? Yoshi, could you please ask your history teacher again?
In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
August 21, 2012 4:41 PM
why does China claim entire east sea and with no shame? China don`t distort history.

by: Catherine
August 20, 2012 10:28 AM
Japan is a shamed country.

During and after WWII, massacre, rape to Chinese and even Asain people. Horrible crimes committed by the Japanese Imperial Army during their invasion of China. In Japan, many even try to deny the Great Nanjing Massacre and so on.

Japan is sooooo small. They want each tiny land even though they know it is not their territory!

In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
August 21, 2012 4:48 PM
China always cry how they are always the victim.
Look what China is doing now in Tibet; claiming entire East Sea up to shores of Vietnam and Phillipines. China invaded Hoang Sa( Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands from Vietnam. China is bullying smaller countries and killing defenceless Vietnamese fishermen.

by: George Hart from: united states
August 20, 2012 9:47 AM
Is it inherent in the human species, that every generation or so, has to deal with a bully, a political system that says, all that we see we want, well, its time to face down the thug. It seems that is how the last great war started, trying to deal with "tough guy with a big stick! This is where the United Nations should tell China, behave or else, to claim the entire South China sea, and then send warships to back up that claim, then threaten the Philippines saying you had better protect Chinese citizens. Wow, isn't that what Tojo, and Hitler did.

by: linda speel from: petaluma, ca
August 19, 2012 12:05 PM
Japan will need to find radiation free places to live. Let them have it.

by: zaz from: China
August 19, 2012 11:27 AM
Those 150 Japanese are right-wing activists, they are China's and South Korea's enemies.

by: Stuart from: Japan
August 19, 2012 8:32 AM
I think it is strange the US State Department claims it is "impartial" in this island dispute. Why did the US return the Senkaku Islands to Japan? Did they make a mistake in 1972? I think the answer is obvious. Back in 1972 they did the normal thing: return the Senkakus along with Okinawa to Japan which had controlled both before WW II. Today, of course, the US State Department looks for any chance to show the regime in China how "impartial" America is. Well, they better start thinking now how they are going to react when China tries to take the Senkakus by force. The USA has a treaty obligation to come to Japan's defense if it is attacked. What are we going to do? Tell the Japanese they are on their own or stand up for our friends? I think this mealy-mouthed US "impartiality" only encourages the Chinese to engage in provocation after provocation.

by: White hat from: Japan
August 19, 2012 8:15 AM
It is ver funny. Why is it dealt with as a piece of news that Japanese people landed on Japanese inherent territory? Provided we (not only Japanese but also all othe nations other than Chinese) allow Chinese to behave in such a gangster-lke manner, all countries in the world will be invaded by China.
In Response

by: Hoang from: Canada
August 21, 2012 4:39 PM
To Judge from China,
You must be talking about China. China claim entire East Sea. China invaded Paracel islands from South Vietnam in 1974 and massacred defenceless Vietnamese to capture Paracel islands from Vietnam in 1988. China kill innocent Vietnamese fishermen that have been fishing in Vietnam`s waters for centuries. Japan is not a corrupt communist country and will teach China a lesson.
In Response

by: Judge from: asia
August 20, 2012 10:14 PM
You should read some history. Do you know why the Japanese always wants others' properties?

by: Anonymous
August 19, 2012 7:40 AM
Chinese who landed on this island were arrested by Japanese and deported. Japanese who also landed on this island were not arrested by Chinese. It seemed water has been tested to see who is the real boss here on Senkaku.
In Response

by: George
August 22, 2012 2:31 AM
The man from Sapporo is very ..How to say that.But when I check the history,I just find that this island is Chinese before the 19th century. After the war,Japan should let it back!
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
August 20, 2012 2:13 AM
Yes, you are right. Senkaku island has been a private property of a Japanese owner befor the World War Two. Japan has kept its sovereingnty since Edo era about four hundreds years before.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs