News / Asia

Japanese React With Fear, Anger Over China Islands Dispute

Henry Ridgwell
The dispute between Japan and China over the ownership of a chain of islands in the East China Sea continues to escalate, with China boycotting a meeting of the IMF being held in Tokyo. A growing sense of fear over China's increasing strength is being reported in the Japanese capital.

In August a fleet of Japanese boats headed for the disputed islands, called the Senkaku by Japan, and the Diaoyu by China. After a journey of several hours, some of the activists - including Japanese lawmakers - swim out to the uninhabited rocks.

The expedition was organized by 'Ganbare Nippon', a nationalist group whose name loosely translates as 'Go Japan.' Its founder is the right-wing filmmaker and playwright Satoru Mizushima.

"Historically the Senkaku are Japan's islands and China never owned the islands before. The Chinese state media accept that fact," said Mizushima. "But in 1970 gas and oil was found beneath the ocean floor; only then did China start to say that the Senkaku belong to them."

In recent weeks the dispute has sparked violent anti-Japanese protests across China, with Japanese businesses and property targeted. The group Ganbare Nippon has organized counter-protests in Tokyo.

Satoru Mizushima said he fears further violence.

"China organized the anti-Japanese protests on purpose because they would like to hide their own contradictions in their own country," he said. "If we let China do what they are trying to do, it will be the same as the appeasement of the Nazis in Germany. China will encroach on the rest of Asia."

After Japan's World War II defeat in 1945, the United States controlled the islands until 1972, when they were handed back. China said it owned the islands until the Sino-Japanese war of 1895.

Much of the dispute is rooted in the history of conflict.

The Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo is meant to house the spirits of Japan's war dead, including many convicted war criminals. A series of visits in recent years by Japanese politicians has prompted fury in Beijing.

On a recent public holiday, Japanese citizens visiting the shrine supported their country's stance in the island dispute.

One man said, "Many people don't know about Japanese history. Originally the Senkaku belonged to Japan. America announced the Senkaku are Japanese before and after World War II. China's way of doing this is illegal, therefore they won't get the islands."

"In international law, Japan believes it is right. Because of the Chinese education system, Chinese people believe they are right," said another man. "If you want to decide which one is right, you need another party, such as America, they can make a just and clear judgement."

Observers say that with both international pride and potentially huge natural resources at stake, neither side is likely to back down soon.

You May Like

Germany Celebrates 25 Years of Unity

October 3 is a public holiday, marking the day in 1990 when East Germany and West Germany reunited More

Analysts: Russia's Syria Strikes Shake Regional Powers

If Moscow bolsters Assad, Saudi Arabia, other Gulf countries may feel obliged to step in More

Video Innovative Nano-Tech Water Filter Prevents Disease

It can absorb contaminants like copper, bacteria, viruses and pesticides, says Askwar Hilonga, who has been successfully trying out his product in Arusha More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
by: clarky from: Brazil
October 15, 2012 9:56 AM
This is the Chinese...uncivilized , underdeveloped and barbaric.

by: gotto from: Canada
October 14, 2012 8:19 AM
Japan nationalized Senkaku in 1894 after invesigating no one had ever lived or occupied the islands, which is a internationally recognized legal procedure.

China suddenly started claiming those islands after UN found rich oil field around the there in 1970s.

China is a greedy aggressor and sick man in Asuia.

by: Negeshabi from: Canada
October 12, 2012 11:47 PM
Wangchuk, gotto and Sakura, when you lose confidence in Diaoyu islands debate, you guys will change the topic to others, Diaoyu island is a spearate topic from others (it is NOt the right place to discuss Tibet and other topics, be prepared to read and learn something before you talk about Tibet and othe topic in other forum or after the right post), you have nothing more to say on realizing your shaky stand on Diaoyu islands, is this right?

by: Wangchuk from: NYC
October 12, 2012 12:19 PM
The CCP wants China to be the Middle Kingdom again & all other Asians to kowtow to China. The CCP invaded Tibet in 1950 & has colonized E. Turkestan & Inner Mongolia. Now the CCP asserts Chinese sovereignty over the entire S. China Sea. Japan & other Asian nations to stand up to the CCP & resist Chinese hegemonism.

by: gotto from: Canada
October 12, 2012 7:35 AM
Chinese are uncivilized, underdeveloped and barbaric second class citizens who vandalize and loot Japanese shops in China.
They haven't changed since the Boxers era.
Before condemning Japan, they should condemn their own corrupt government.
China is a sick man in Asia.
In Response

by: William from: Canada
October 12, 2012 11:42 AM
You are wrong. Who start the World Word II? It is Japan that killing millions of people. Please study the modern histroy before making any judgement. China still need to change but compare with the evil deeds of Japan in the WWII, it is nothing.

by: steven from: china
October 12, 2012 5:18 AM
just as the US people will never forget the surprised attacks on the American military base in Pearl Harbor during WWII ,we chinese people will never forget japan's military aggression in the past . what we really cannot tolerate is that they have kept denying japanese forces conducted Nanjin Massacre or killed any innocent civilians in china , can you trust such a shameful nation?

by: Andy from: US
October 12, 2012 3:19 AM
This report is ridiculous and full of just focus on a little group of irrational Chinese people but not the truth. Every country has this kind of nationalists but what we really care is the truth.
And I feel so horrible when I saw the Japanese said China would act like Nazis in German. In my memory, Japan was the Nazis of Asia who brought lots of pain to the people in other Asian countries, like the Nazis in German brought to the peoples in other European countries. And till now, Japan had never reflected on its history and make a sincere apology to the people it hurt.
In Response

by: Sakura from: Tokyo
October 12, 2012 11:00 AM
you are chinese, not US

by: jianhua from: east areas
October 12, 2012 3:14 AM
why don't Japanese feel ashamed for what they did one hundred years ago and did invasion to China and east Aisa areas during the second world war ? Fascism's country has what reasons and what qualifications to say other country is Fascism ?!

by: Samurai from: Japan
October 12, 2012 2:31 AM
@Nguyen tung dan from Hanoi, thanks for your support; however, we Japanese do not feel fear. As you know, we Japanese defeat Chinese navy during Japanese-Sino War. Chinese were very arrogant at that time with much more battle ships than Japanese navy had, but Chinese battle ships were completely destroyed. 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. Chinese dirty way of provoking Japan has set fire on Japanese nationalism!
In Response

by: moo m. from: vietnam
October 13, 2012 9:30 AM
Japan has never been a puppet of anybody as far as the world could see ! you want to look back in history ? the chinese were not any better ! China invaded so many countries, robbed, raped, looted countless places your 10,000 year or so history.
In the modern days. Japan has recalled their defective goods to protect their customers how about China, any time it recalled its poisonous, defective goods... that;s just a start !
In Response

by: tony from: hong kong
October 12, 2012 8:42 AM
no matter what you are saying how brave you are now, how mighty you can be, you are but a puppet of your US master. Without the US, you are nothing. you are probably a sympathiser of your extreme right wing politicians. You want to challenge China, you must think twice, because China's claim is a strong claim in terms of history, with huge amount of historic evidence which some japanese are evading. I challenge you to state your case, with all the evidence you have got.

by: Jane from: rcldtc1
October 12, 2012 12:50 AM
Historically Japan is China's island.
In Response

by: Mark Donners
October 12, 2012 7:43 AM
Historically the entire earth belongs to the animals. Humans are only here by invitation but they've overstayed their welcome a long time ago. Japan lost it's right to Japan when it started kiling whales and raping the oceans
In Response

by: kathy from: canada
October 12, 2012 2:56 AM
That's true. The prince of Japan said his ancestor is a Chinese or Korean. Actually the first Japanese king was the l that the Chinese King of Dang Dynasty sent to look for the medicine of living forever and never die.

I am not sure the Japanese know this or not. maybe the young Japanese should learn their history very carefully in case of making jokes.
Comments page of 3

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

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 Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

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.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs