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.

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by: Nguyen tung dan from: Hanoi
October 12, 2012 12:18 AM
Come on my Japanese friend, we are in the whole world support you against the expansionism, Chinese brainless invader. The Chinese plundered Tibet, Uighur people as Xinjiang now they stupid come to claim the entire Vietnamese sea and Philipine. This knowledgeless and childist Chinese, hopefully, Japan, USA, along with the world must teach them one lesson on how to behave properly.

by: RLEE from: China
October 11, 2012 11:42 PM
I like VOA for its brevity and as-the-matter-of-fact. I believe a good report is like writing history, with tangible facts. Any comments shall be avoided, any bias shall be shunned. Report is report.

by: Habi from: Canada
October 11, 2012 11:37 PM
Japan education doesn't teach Japanese about invasion of Japanese to China and other Asian countries, and all atrocities made by Japanese army in WWII, Japanese didn't know how many Chinese were killed by Japanese in WWII(~30 million), and how much treasures and money Japanese robbed from China in the past 100-200 years. Japanese didn't know that Japanese used Biological weapons when Japanese invaded China from 1931-1945, Japanese may not know Japanese army used Civilian Chinese for experiments for their chemical and biological weapons; Japanese may not know either that Japanese has never paid any reparations to individual Chinese, China government, or Taiwan until now due to their war crime and huge damage to China and Chinese people in WWII, so they don't understand why Chinese are so angry at Japanese when Japan refused to follow Potsdam Declaration (1945) (US, UK, China, Russian) to return Diaoyu islands to China (New Japanese Fascist since Japan doesn't even want to talk about Diaoyu islands), what Japanese is doing is to rob Diaoyu islands again without talking, just like Japanese Fascist in WWII.
In Response

by: wai man from: singapore
October 13, 2012 10:19 PM
Come on guys, the past is the past. A mistake had being make with severe consequenses. Dont make the same mistake again. When 2 asian giants fight its the white people who will benefit.They be watching and when the time is right they will scoop up everything.
we will be colonise again and all our forefathers bloodbefforts will be wasted. Japan, China DONT BE STUPID
In Response

by: cvc from: USA
October 12, 2012 2:28 AM
The Communist under Mao killed more people than you mentioned. The Koreans, Vietnamese, Mongolians, Tibetans are waiting for the Chinese to compensate for years under barbaric ruled by the Chinese. First the Chinese wants Senkaku, the whole south china sea, then the entire Pacific ocean?

by: ali from: malaysia
October 11, 2012 11:27 PM

everybody in the world knows that America stand the same line with Japan, both of them are trying to against China.

by: WHO from: China
October 11, 2012 11:22 PM
Two nuclear bombs educated Japanese how listen to American.Chinese should learn from American.
In Response

by: shily from: canada
October 12, 2012 3:08 AM
yeah!!!!. Learn from great big brother USA. Two bombs taught Japan a good lesson , and US government wants which Japanese prime minster to be a PM or step down, then he will be or step down. US government holds the dog chain firmly in hand.

sent tones of boms to Afhan, Iraq, if you don't listen to me. try ... bomes... bombs work best. wait to see Iran....

by: Chang Kei Sheik from: China
October 11, 2012 11:19 PM
Communist China point his finger those direction is belong to him. They said historic evidences in their dream or maybe. Shameful. Some fect they use their troop violently occupied up like KYUKOKE at Burmese Border via KWUNLON rope bridge which they built for good will relationship between 2 countries. Shamefully never keep their Impression internationally. Also Presley Islands, now Japan Island, then Eussia,then USA then all over the world.

by: David from: Hawaii
October 11, 2012 11:16 PM
This article is ridiculously irrigorous and surprisingly single-sided. Only wild accusation without actual evidence were made between the lines. The last statement of "If you want to decide which one is right.... America ...[has]....clear judgement" is simply funny and naive, as if the US is not trying to suppress China and not a friend of Japan.

It is so absurd that VOA will post such a non-journalistic BS on its website...... Shame on you.
In Response

by: a from: Canada
October 14, 2012 11:19 AM
Shamful for VOA!!!

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 11, 2012 10:37 PM
We general Japanese don't feel any fear nor anger against violence to Japanese companies by Chinese people becaue we know these mobs are only a few part of Chinese. We are just feeling pity to them. Journalism cannot help picking up only a sensational sketch of incidents. Vice versa. Those who landed the islands were a few of Japanese nationalists. This news was not taken sensational in Japan. Concerning the disputes over islands, the fact is Japanese government bought the islands in order to avoid the purchase by metropolitan Tokyo from a private owner of Japanese.

by: Michael from: Chicago
October 11, 2012 8:15 PM
VOA nice work being impartial ... no mentions of why China claims the island at all. Here is China's and Taiwan's position
1) Discovery and early recording in maps and travelogues[20]
The islands were China's frontier off-shore defence against wokou (Japanese pirates) during the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911). A Chinese map of Asia, as well as a map compiled by a Japanese cartographer[21] in the 18th century,[20] shows the islands as a part of China.[20][22]
Japan took control of the islands during the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894–1895, to whom they were formally ceded by the Treaty of Shimonoseki. A letter of the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1885, warning against annexing the islands due to anxiety about China's response, shows that Japan knew the islands were not terra nullius.[13][20][22]
The Potsdam Declaration stated that "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshū, Hokkaidō, Kyūshū, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine", and "we" referred to the victors of the Second World War who met at Potsdam, the USA, the UK and the Republic of China. Japan accepted the terms of the Declaration when it surrendered.[22][23][24]
China formally protested the 1971 US transfer of control to Japan[25]

by: Abe
October 11, 2012 6:50 PM
Is Satoru Mizushima forget that Japan is the Nazis of asia who fighted together with the German Nazis while he said china will be the Nazis? Why they are still paying respect to the criminals who made so big tragedy on the people all over the world? Japanease are so hypocritical and barbarous. Every body of the world should be careful on Japanease!
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