尖閣国有化方針 政府と都は安定管理へ協調を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jul. 11, 2012)
Central, Tokyo govts should get in tune over Senkaku Islands
尖閣国有化方針 政府と都は安定管理へ協調を(7月10日付・読売社説)

The inability of the central and Tokyo metropolitan governments to get on the same page will be only to China's advantage. They need to closely cooperate on the Senkaku Islands issue.

The central government has finally made a concrete move to put the Senkaku Islands under state control.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has admitted that the government is holding talks with the metropolitan government and the owner of three islands in the five-islet chain. "From the viewpoint of peacefully and stably maintaining and managing [the islands], we've been in contact [with the metropolitan government and others] at various levels," Noda said to the House of Representatives Budget Committee on Monday.

The central government's aspirations of putting the Senkaku Islands under state control will advance efforts to better maintain the territorial integrity and effective control of the islands.

The government currently leases the three islands, including Uotsurijima, from the owner and bans people other than government officials from landing on them. However, under individual ownership, through which the islands could be sold to or inherited by a third person, the future of the islands could be unstable.


China's claim unwarranted

Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara has built up a relationship of trust with the islands' owner. Donations to the Tokyo government to purchase the three islands have topped 1.3 billion yen.

Given the recent developments, various options are on the table, including having the metropolitan government buy the three islands and then immediately transfer them to the central government.

Ishihara has expressed distrust of the government's plan to purchase the islands, saying the Noda administration is trying "to gain popularity" and deriding it as "abrupt." However, now is not the time for the central and metropolitan governments to be out of step.

It is essential that the islands be surely placed under state control, regardless of how this is done. The central and metropolitan governments must speed up necessary arrangements to make this happen.

The Japanese government's plan to place the islands under state control prompted Beijing to issue a statement saying, "No one will ever be permitted to buy and sell China's sacred territory."

However, it was only in 1971--after the existence of oil reserves was confirmed near the Senkaku Islands--that China started to claim sovereignty over them.

Japan has been in effective control of the islands since it incorporated them into its territory based on international law in 1895. It is unreasonable of China, which effectively gave tacit approval to Japan's control of the Senkakus, to belatedly claim sovereignty over them.


Strengthen JCG

Chinese fishery patrol boats approach waters around the Senkaku Islands almost monthly and repeatedly make their presence felt.

Earlier this month, Taiwan patrol vessels and a leisure fishing boat briefly intruded into Japanese territorial waters.

These provocations will only undermine Japan-China and Japan-Taiwan relations. We strongly urge Beijing and Taipei to exercise self-restraint.

Even if the government puts the Senkaku Islands under state control in the future, this in itself will not be able to prevent intrusions and other illegal acts.

It will be necessary to enable Japan Coast Guard officers to apprehend foreign nationals who illegally land on the Senkaku Islands. To do so, the Diet should quickly deliberate a bill to revise the Japan Coast Guard Law.

Also, the JCG must be strengthened in terms of manpower and the quality of its equipment, through such measures as deploying a large patrol vessel that will enable long-term monitoring of waters around the Senkaku Islands and increasing the number of JCG officers.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 10, 2012)
(2012年7月10日01時35分 読売新聞)

by kiyoshimat | 2012-07-12 06:58 | 英字新聞

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