On Monday the central Japanese government refused permission for authorities from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, including Governor Shintaro Ishihara, to make a visit to a set of Chinese-disputed islands. The denial was made on the grounds that any such landing on the uninhabited islands Japan calls Senkaku, and China calls Diaoyu, would do nothing but stir the building tensions over the last two weeks that have led to large-scale protests in Chinese cities.
On Friday, Tokyo Governor Ishihara, well-known for his ardent nationalism, announced to the press that he would be making a visit to the territory in October, along with those conducting field surveys, adding that he doesn’t care if he gets arrested. Ishihara is also the one responsible for launching the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s attempt to purchase the islands from their private Japanese owner. Prime Minister Noda and Japan’s central government have since tried to step in and make the purchase, rather than Ishihara, who they feel would make diplomatic relations with Beijing much worse than they already are.
As the Tokyo government already has an agreement that sees them leasing the islands on a yearly basis, the central government’s official denial was based on the fact that the lease agreement specifically states a peaceful and stable management and control. This really means that if Ishihara and his big mouth were to set one foot on those rocks Japan would never see the end of China‘s outrage, and the government wants to put this dispute to bed as quickly and calmly as possible.