A Chinese two-star general has said out in public what would probably be the next level on the ongoing territorial dispute between Japan and China – that Okinawa does not belong to Japan. Luo Yuan, a general in the People's Liberation Army, has said that Japan has no rightful claim on sovereignty over the Ryukyu island chain – of which Okinawa is a part of – because the ancient leaders of the territory had started paying tribute to China 500 years or so before they had done so to Japan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has once again issued a warning against any intrusion into Japan's territorial waters, this time referring to foreign submarines that will attempt to pass through underwater. This is in response to the Defense Ministry's report that a foreign submarine was spotted just outside the contiguous zone, south of Kumejima Island in Okinawa Prefecture on Tuesday.
A Taiwanese fishing boat was detained by Japanese authorities as it was caught trespassing in Japanese waters near Ishagaki Island on Tuesday. The captain of the 48.25-ton "Cheng Chang Fa No. 2" was also placed under arrest, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).
A foreign submarine was detected in a contiguous zone just outside Japanese territorial waters south of Kumejima Island in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan’s Defense Ministry revealed on Tuesday. Ministry officials did not elaborate on the submarine vessel’s country of origin, but a government source revealed that the sub likely belonged to the Chinese Navy.
In the 43rd incident in the area since September 2012, 3 Chinese surveillance vessels entered Japanese territorial waters on Monday, according to the 11th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters in Naha. They were spotted near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku/Diayu Islands, which are part of a territorial dispute between the two countries.
In the latest event on this issue, China on Thursday criticized the Japanese government for lodging a diplomatic protest against an article published in a Chinese state-run newspaper that questioned Japan’s sovereignty over the Ryukyu Islands, which include Okinawa, currently Japan’s southernmost prefecture. The heated exchange continues to degrade relations between the two neighboring Asian nations as territorial disputes come to the fore.
China’s most popular newspaper on Wednesday published an article that pushed for the government to “reconsider” Japan’s sovereignty over the Ryukyu island chain, which includes Okinawa – home to most of the United States bases and forces in Japan. Okinawa is Japan’s southernmost prefecture, but the People’s Daily newspaper thinks that China may have rights to the group of islands, and opinion that is likely to escalate the already tense situation between the two countries regarding sovereignty of territories in the East China Sea.
Lee Chia-Chin, an advisor to Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou, has been appointed as the head of the Taiwan liaison office in Japan. If his appointment is officially confirmed by the office, he will become the youngest head in the office's history at 56 years old. He will replace current chief Liao Liou-yi, who had to resign to take care of his elderly mother.
Japanese deputy prime minister Taro Aso said that Japan and China have never had a smooth relationship at anytime during their 1,500 year history. This came up during a meeting with an Asian Development Bank meeting with Indian business people on Sunday during Aso's trip to New Delhi.
A spokesman for the government revealed this week that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will be arriving in Tokyo next week to meet with Fumio Kishida, where, among other issues, the Japanese foreign affairs official will request that France not move ahead with its plans to sell helicopter landing equipment to China. The concern for Japan is directly tied to the ongoing territorial dispute over a small group of islands in the East China Sea.