The Senkaku Islands: Japanese Territory?

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    Are the Senkaku islands a legitimate part of Japan’s national territory? Journalist Akira Ikegami thinks so. Here’s a clip from a recent episode of his “Mr. News” program, in which he explains how the islands became part of Japan and how the Chinese government recognized them as Japanese territory on several occasions:

    All of the Chinese documents that listed the Senkaku islands as Japanese territory were created prior to the discovery of oil in the area. Here are the main pieces of evidence introduced by Ikegami:

    In the 1880’s, Japan conducted surveys of the Senkaku Islands and determined that they were uninhabited and officially claimed by no nation. They were formally annexed in 1895. The above photo shows a small katsuobushi factory that was built on on one of the islands and used from 1895 to 1940. During that period, a small number of Japanese lived and worked in the Senkakus.

    In 1920, a Chinese boat was shipwrecked in the area. They were rescued and returned to China by the Japanese. In an official letter from the Chinese government’s Nagasaki consulate thanking the Japanese, the islands are referred to as “the Senkaku Islands, Yaeyama district, Okinawa Prefecture, in the Empire of Japan.” The letter uses the official Japanese name for the islands directly states that they are Japanese territory.

    On January 8th 1953, an article about anti-American protests in Okinawa appeared in China’s state-controlled People’s Daily Newspaper. When it lists the islands that are part of Japan’s Ryukyu archipelago, it includes the Senkaku Islands [尖閣諸島], using the official Japanese name [not Diayutai Islands 钓鱼台群岛 /釣魚台群島].

    The above picture shows a map of Japan’s Ryukyu territories that was published in Beijing back in 1958. The Senkaku islands are included as part of the Ryukyus.

    When shown all this evidence, the Japanese celebrity panelists are dumbfounded: China recognized the islands as Japanese, but suddenly reversed its official stance and now claims that the islands have always been part of China??!!! How could China be so shameless?!!

    A classified 1969 map produced by the People’s Republic of China official map authority lists the “Senkaku Islands” as Japanese territory. [This is a very recent discovery and was not featured on the TV program.]

    For a more lengthy article on the Japanese, Chinese, and Taiwanese territorial claims for the islands, check out this Ampontan blog post.

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