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2013年7月21日 (日)

13参院選 対中国外交 歴史的事実を浸透させたい

The Yomiuri Shimbun July 20, 2013
Let facts tell more in diplomacy toward China
13参院選 対中国外交 歴史的事実を浸透させたい(7月19日付・読売社説)

How to face up to our neighbor China, which persists with its aggressive behavior over the Senkaku Islands, is the biggest diplomatic challenge facing Japan.

In their pledges for the House of Councillors election, most major parties, bearing the Senkakus issue in mind, have made commitments to “act in defense of the nation’s territory.” All of them, however, have fallen short of providing specific steps that should be taken--and how--to ensure the nation’s territorial sovereignty.

The Chinese government has been lashing out at Japan, asserting that the latter’s decision in September to place the Senkakus under state ownership altered the status quo of the Senkaku situation, which Beijing argues had been “shelved” for many years.

China’s claim contradictory

There can be no room, however, to doubt that the Senkaku Islands are part of Japan’s intrinsic territory, both historically and in the eyes of international law. It is never a territorial problem to be “shelved.”

In fact, while arguing for “shelving” the issue, it is China that attempted to change the status quo, by enacting the Law on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone of the Republic of China in 1992, which explicitly stipulates China’s sovereignty over the islands.

In addition, it was recently brought to light that China has plans to develop many new gas fields in waters in the vicinity of the Japan-China median line in the East China Sea. These moves are in blatant violation of the Japan-China agreement in 2008 that the two countries will refrain from unilaterally engaging in any developmental projects in the East China Sea.

It is only natural that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has criticized China for continuing to act with only itself in mind.

That said, if the current state of relations between Japan and China goes unchanged, it would certainly be detrimental to both countries. Strenuous diplomatic efforts aimed at improving bilateral relations must be made.

The Democratic Party of Japan, which nationalized the Senkaku Islands in its then capacity as the ruling party, has said little in its election platform on the issue except to call for “making the East China Sea an area of peace, friendship and cooperation,” a reference that makes the Senkakus issue sound like someone else’s problem.

New Komeito and Your Party, in connection with the Senkaku row, have called for the creation of a Japan-China “maritime liaison mechanism” for emergencies that would comprise working-level officials from the two countries. This idea should be realized swiftly to prevent an accidental clash that could lead to a conflict.

The Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, meanwhile, have been insisting that the Senkakus should be dealt with as a territorial problem for both Japan and China. Does their insistence not run contrary to this country’s national interest? If Japan were to acknowledge the existence of a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, China would certainly ratchet up its demands, such as pushing for a scheme for placing the islets under joint management by the two countries.

Intertwining histories

We should never ignore the fact that China has mixed the Senkakus problem up with differing perceptions of history and the countries’ wartime past.

The Chinese administration of President Xi Jinping has criticized Japan for “posing a grave challenge to the international order after World War II.”

Which one of the two countries should be blamed for trying to disrupt the international order? Japan must deal with this matter on the basis of international law.

The Liberal Democratic Party has been stressing the need to establish a new study institute regarding territory and problems of perceptions of history to compile an effective rebuttal and disproof against unsound arguments regarding historical facts. Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party) also advocates the nation’s dignity must be secured through such a method.

What approach should be considered the best for conveying historical facts throughout the international community in an appropriate manner?

The ruling and opposition parties must cooperate, using their combined ingenuity, to resolve the problem.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 19, 2013)
(2013年7月19日01時49分  読売新聞)


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