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The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute

Posted in Current Events by bourdaghs on the October 26th, 2010

My translation of a recent commentary by Wada Haruki on the Senkaku/Daioyu Islands territorial dispute between Japan and China has just appeared in the on-line Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus. Wada, an emeritus professor at the University of Tokyo, is one of Japan’s leading historians of Korea and Japan-Korea relations.

Wada provides useful analysis of the recent flare-up that occurred after Japan seized a Chinese fishing boat off the coast of the islands. He then goes on to trace the tangled history of territorial claims to the islands, before concluding:

Given the present situation, haven’t we reached the point where we need to acknowledge the existence of this territorial dispute, where both sides should exchange and investigate in detail their respective claims? It is foolish for both sides to continue to assert “exclusive territorial rights” over these remote uninhabited islands. Extensive discussions should be held to determine how best to view the historical developments that led to the current situation. These should lead to proposals for a resolution to the dispute. Until then, both governments also need to discuss in realistic terms how the movement of fishing boats will be controlled in the interim. This is the sort of approach that is called for now.

There are three ongoing territorial disputes in Northeast Asia: the four islands of the Northern Territories [disputed between Russia and Japan], Dokdo/Takeshima [known in English as the Liancourt Rocks, disputed between Japan and South Korea], and the Senkaku Islands. Wouldn’t it be appropriate to gather scholars from Russia, Japan, South Korea, North Korea, China, Taiwan and the U.S. to engage in an overarching discussion that dealt with all of these disputes together? Above all, it is crucial to avoid having these burst into open conflict.

You can real Wada’s whole essay in English here (Japanese and Korean versions here).

Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus has run other recent essays on the territorial dispute, include pieces by Tanaka Sakai and Peter Lee.

One Response to 'The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute'

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  1. on November 8th, 2010 at 4:45 am

    The Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute…

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……