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2012年10月12日 (金)

尖閣国有1か月 長期化する対日圧力に備えよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 12, 2012)
Prepare for prolonged pressure from China over Senkakus
尖閣国有1か月 長期化する対日圧力に備えよ(10月11日付・読売社説)

One month has passed since the government put three of the Senkaku Islands under state control. There is no sign that China's pressure on Japan will wane. The government should make necessary preparations on the assumption that the confrontation over the islands will lengthen.

China decided not to send its finance minister or the governor of the People's Bank of China to the plenary session of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, which are scheduled to open in Tokyo on Friday. The decision apparently aims at demonstrating to the world its protest against Japan over the Senkaku issue.

The world's second-largest economy is behaving as if it is showing little regard for a venue for the discussion of global economic issues. Such an attitude will never win the understanding of the international community.

Following anti-Japan demonstrations that spread across China, the Chinese government allowed people to stage a campaign to boycott Japanese products. Unit sales of Japanese carmakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., substantially dropped in China in September. Adverse impacts on Japanese companies' business are spreading.

Also, many Chinese tourists have canceled visits to Japan, dealing a serious blow to airline companies and the tourism industry.


Avoid risky compromise

Under tangible and intangible pressure from China, Japanese business circles are asking the government to quickly resolve the situation. Referring to Japan's diplomacy toward China, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba said, "We can't concede what we can't concede, but we want to explore what is possible."

However, the government must not improvise its policies on the fly.

If the government easily compromises on the issue, Japan's sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands itself could be put in danger.

For years, China has made it a national policy to expand its territorial and maritime interests. Its goal for the time being is that Japan admit the existence of a territorial dispute over the islets and agree to sit at the negotiating table to discuss it. Beijing is expected to relentlessly apply pressure by various means until it extracts concessions from Japan.

However, the amount of international trust that China will lose by unilaterally continuing its diplomacy of pressure against Japan must be substantial.

The government has unofficially decided to appoint Assistant Chief Cabinet Secretary Masato Kitera as the new ambassador to China to succeed Shinichi Nishimiya, who died before leaving for China to start his official duties as envoy. We urge the government to use the replacement of the ambassador to China as an opportunity to carefully seek common ground between Tokyo and Beijing.


China held at bay for now

China is continuing to make its presence felt by sending surveillance ships to waters near the Senkaku Islands.

However, Beijing has refrained from taking any action that could further escalate tension. This must be linked to recent moves the United States took to keep Chinese forces in check, such as dispatching two aircraft carrier strike groups to the Western Pacific and showing the news media a joint landing exercise by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Ground Self-Defense Force in Guam last month.

It is clear that the Japan-U.S. alliance is functioning to deter China's provocation.

The Japan Coast Guard, meanwhile, is forced to engage in vigilance and surveillance activities on a 24-hour basis. It has sent its patrol ships and boats from across the country to areas around the Senkaku Islands.

As long as it is necessary to maintain this preparedness for the long term, the government must take all possible measures, such as securing the necessary number of JCG personnel.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 11, 2012)
(2012年10月11日01時27分  読売新聞)


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