Japan aims to register 280 remote islands as national assets

TOKYO Thu Jan 9, 2014 5:14am EST

A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012. REUTERS/Kyodo

A group of disputed islands, Uotsuri island (top), Minamikojima (bottom) and Kitakojima, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China is seen in the East China Sea, in this photo taken by Kyodo September 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is set to clarify the ownership of 280 remote islands in its territorial waters and register them as national assets, a move that could rile China and South Korea, which are engaged in territorial disputes with Tokyo.

Japan's move to survey the islands and claim those with no apparent owners was announced this week and continues a plan first begun five years ago, an official at the country's Oceanic Policy and Territorial Issues secretariat said.

"Basically the idea is to register these islands as national assets," said the official, who declined to be identified.

He said the location of the islands remained unclear until the survey was completed, but they were all within Japanese territorial waters and the boundaries of the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would not change.

Since the plan kicked off, Japan has nationalized some 99 remote islands with no apparent owner. That figure is separate from the 280 islands featuring in the current survey.

Ties between Japan and China have been strained due to a simmering row over ownership of a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, while Japan and South Korea are locked in a territorial row over a different set of islands.

China is keeping a close watch on the situation, a spokeswoman of the country's foreign ministry said.

"We believe that Japan's actions in marine areas should follow international law, and should not harm the interests of other countries or the international community," Hua Chunying told a regular news briefing on Thursday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's December 26 visit to Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals are enshrined along with war dead, infuriated China and South Korea and stoked concern from the United States, a key ally.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Comments (5)
Zephon wrote:
Japan’s surrender agreement at the end of WWII limited them to the basic 4 islands of Japan.

Since Japan’s leadership has worked to erase their atrocities during that war and teach their people lies about their wars of aggression and expansion in Asia.

We should revisit all Japanese claimed territories and make them abide by their WWII agreements.

Jan 09, 2014 5:03pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Free_Pacific wrote:
Zephon Wrote:

“Japan’s surrender agreement at the end of WWII limited them to the basic 4 islands of Japan.”

Incorrect. It was the 4 main Islands and other islands as to be determined. You cant wait 70 years and then start demanding they lose more. You amended quotation (to suit your own purposes) is a mere smokescreen for Chinese territorial ambition and aggression. Pure and simple.

Jan 10, 2014 4:01am EST  --  Report as abuse
ljkj wrote:
@Free_Pacific : I’m not intending to offend you, but I believe you’re Japanese, as certain bits of your grammar has mistakes. And I do understand that you believe your country is not doing anything wrong(I would have believed in the same thing if I were you). However, I would like to point out that Abe (your leader) is doing things that are hard to be understood. He is trying to change the law to make an army, and his constant visits to the shrine MUST stop. This island dispute is not different: those islands do not belong to Japan, and your government’s attempt to take them from its rightful owner (be it Korea or China) are wrong as well. Remember that our world cannot stand pacism anymore: your government must show sincere remorse over the past, not efforts to repeat it again. Please remember the old quote : “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Jan 11, 2014 6:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
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