Japan to conduct island defense drill amid tension with China

TOKYO Thu May 1, 2014 6:07am EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will conduct a military exercise this month to practice defending an island, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday, underscoring concern about East China Sea islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China.

The dispute over the islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, has raised fears of a clash between the Asian neighbors which could even drag in the United States.

Separately, China said on Wednesday it would carry out naval exercises with Russia in the East China Sea in what it called a bid to deepen military cooperation.

Japan's Defense Ministry said the island defense exercise would run from May 10 to May 27 on a small uninhabited island in the Ryukyu chain, some 600 km (375 miles) northeast of the disputed isles.

Some parts of the exercise will be held in southwestern Japan's Nagasaki prefecture and waters off Okinawa Island's east coast. Okinawa is home is a major U.S. military base and Japan also bases forces there.

It will be the first time that Japan's military, known as the Self-Defense Forces, will use an actual island for island defense training involving its ground, air and maritime divisions.

About 1,300 troops, as well as several fighter jets and destroyers, will practice landing on and retaking the island, the ministry said.

But it said the exercise was not a response to the tension with China.

"Boosting island defense is something that has been mentioned in the defense white paper in recent years. This is not a drill that is responding to the current security situation surrounding Japan," a ministry spokesman said.

U.S. President Barack Obama said last month while on a visit to Japan that the disputed islands were covered by a U.S.-Japan security treaty, angering China.

Last month, Japan announced it would break ground on a radar base in the area, on a tropical Japanese island close to Taiwan.

The radar station on Yonaguni Island, just 150 km (93 miles) from the disputed islands in the East China Sea, marks Japan's first military expansion at the western end of its island chain in more than 40 years.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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Comments (7)
Well, nations are ready to go to war, and people willing to both kill and die for some uninhabited islands.

May 01, 2014 5:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AtlasMirror wrote:
From the jurisprudence perspective, Japan got hold of Diaoyu Dao in 1895 through a war of aggression. The Qing court was defeated in the war and was forced to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan “the isand of Formosa (Taiwan), together with all islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa”. Diaoyu Dao was ceded to Japan as one of those islands. When the Chinese government officially declared war against Japan during the World War II, it also declared the abrogation of all treaties between China and Japan, including the Treaty of Shimonoseki, annulling the jurisprudence grounds for Japan to claim Diaoyu Dao. After the victory of the Anti-Fascist War, such important documents as the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation, and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender all provided that Diaoyu Dao, as an appertaining island to Formosa (Taiwan), shall be restored to China. In 1951, Japan, the US and a number of other countries signed the Treaty of San Francisco, which placed the Nansei Islands south of the 29th parallel of North Latitude under the United Nations trusteeship, but it did not include Diaoyu Dao. In 1971, Japan and the US signed the Okinawa Reversion Agreement, which in the absence of China provided that any and all powers of administration over the Ryukyu Islands and Diaoyu Dao would be “returned” to Japan. In the aftermath, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a solemn statement. In response to the strong opposition from China, the US publicly clarified its position on the sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao, stressing that the US took a neutral position with regard to the competing Japanese and Chinese claims to the islands.

As China and Japan were normalizing relations and concluding the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in the 1970s, the then leaders of the two countries, acting in the larger interest of China-Japan relations, reached important understanding and consensus on “leaving the issue of Diaoyu Dao to be resolved later.” But in recent years, Japan has repeatedly taken unilateral measures concerning Diaoyu Dao and conducted in particular the so-called “nationalization” of Diaoyu Dao. This severely infringed upon China’s sovereignty and ran counter to the understanding and consensus reached between the older generation of leaders of the two countries. It has not only seriously damaged China-Japan relations, but also rejected and challenged the outcome of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.

May 02, 2014 11:34am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Free_Pacific wrote:
@AtlasMirror

Since you use the term ‘unequal treaties’, you are without a doubt a Chinese nationalist fed lies as fact. Regurgitating the same lies spread by the PRC through it’s paid posters.

Please tell me in what article, the Senkaku’s are mentioned in Treaty of Shimonoseki.

Please tell me in what document, the Senkaku’s were ever incorporated into the sovereign sphere of China?

Please tell me the earliest Chinese records of the Senkaku’s and the purpose of the mission said record was notated during?

Never mind, since you would not post these because it would the falsity of your claims/lies I’ll list the answers for you.

1: They aren’t
2: They never were.
3: A diplomatic mission to the Ryukyu Kingdom in the late 1400′s.

May 02, 2014 8:19pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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