1. Sovereignty: Legal and Historical Aspects
Feb 17, 2015
On January 14, 1895, the Japanese cabinet approved a decision to erect sovereignty markers on Uotsuri Island and Kuba Island and incorporate the islands into Japanese territory. Previously, government and private expeditions had landed on the Senkaku Islands and conducted surveys, and private citizens had developed the land, mainly for fishing activities. Because of this, and to regulate fishermen, the Japanese government found it necessary to place the islands under its sovereignty and administer them directly.
After the islands became part of Japanese territory, the government formally leased them to Koga Tatsushiro, who developed them for business with sites on Uotsuri Island and Kuba Island. During this period the government managed the islands, setting land numbers (chiban) for each island, recording the islands in land registries, sending administrative officials to visit them, and carrying out academic studies.
In 1922, the government formally incorporated Kumeakashima Island into Japanese territory, at the same time changing its name to Taisho Island. Then, in 1932 Uotsuri Island, Kuba Island, Minamikojima Island, and Kitakojima Island were sold to Koga Zenji, the son of Koga Tatsushiro and inheritor of his business.
After World War II, in Article 3 of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, the Nansei Islands, including the Ryukyu Islands, and within them, the Senkaku Islands, were placed under US administration. The United States oversaw and managed the islands, designating US army proving grounds on Kuba Island and Taisho Island, requiring payment of fixed property and other taxes from Koga Zenji to the US Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands, warning Taiwanese people who had entered illegally to dismantle wrecks, and putting up warning signs. On June 17, 1971, the Okinawa Reversion Agreement was signed. This came into effect on May 15, 1972, and sovereignty of Okinawa Prefecture, including the Senkaku Islands, returned to Japan.
As of this version, this website includes facts and figures from the Meiji era (1868-1912) to around the time that Okinawa was returned to Japanese administration.
*Click the links to go to the individual pages.
A. Before incorporation: from territorial intentions to incorporation measures
|January 12 and 14, 1895||Decision to Incorporate the Senkaku Islands Into Japanese Territory (Cabinet Decision to Construct Sovereignty Markers)||Read ≫|
|1885||Japanese Government Orders Okinawa Prefecture to Conduct the Senkaku Islands Survey||Read ≫|
|December 5, 1885||Further Petition from Okinawa Prefecture and Postponement of Construction of Sovereignty Markers||Read ≫|
|January 13, 1890||Petition to Incorporate the Senkaku Islands from the Yaeyama Islands Government||Read ≫|
|October 22, 1885||Okinawa Representatives Sent on Izumo Maru to Survey Potential for Development||Read ≫|
|November 2, 1893||Renewed Petition by Okinawa Governor to Home and Foreign Ministers||Read ≫|
|January 21, 1895||Drawing Up of Markers Construction Draft Directive||Read ≫|
|January 22 and February 2, 1895||Sending of Markers Construction Draft Directive||Read ≫|
|December 15 and 27, 1894, and January 11, 1895||Drawing up of Cabinet Proposal and Home and Foreign Ministerial Consultation Regarding Construction of Markers||Read ≫|
|From 1859||Oshiro Eiho Lands on the Senkaku Islands||Read ≫|
|October 9 and October 21, 1885||Home Minister Asks Foreign Minister's Opinion Regarding Construction of Sovereignty Markers||Read ≫|
B. Effective control after incorporation
|From 1895||Koga Makes Request and Is Granted 30 Year Lease Free of Charge||Read ≫|
|1904 and 1907||Visits to the Senkaku Islands by Government Officials||Read ≫|
|From 1926||Change From Free Lease to Paid Lease for Koga||Read ≫|
|July 1945||Rescue of Ishigaki Residents After Their Evacuation Ship Came Under Machine-Gun Fire and Commemoration of This Event||Read ≫|
|1932||Sale of Uotsuri Island, Kuba Island, Minamikojima Island, and Kitakojima Island to Koga||Read ≫|
|1922||Kumeakashima Designated as Japanese Territory and Renamed Taishoto||Read ≫|
|From 1939||Surveys by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Resource Survey Team and Ishigakijima Weather Station||Read ≫|
|March 5, 1896||Division of Okinawa by Imperial Edict||Read ≫|
|From 1884||Development of the Senkaku Islands by Koga Tatsushiro||Read ≫|
C. Legal status after World War II
|1967–1968||Active Response to Taiwanese Workers Dismantling Wrecks (Minamikojima Island)||Read ≫|
|April 12, 1971||The Senkaku Islands Included in Geographical Scope of Okinawa Reversion Agreement||Read ≫|
|September 3, 1968||Proposal from US Civil Administration to Install Signboards Warning Against Illegal Entry||Read ≫|
|1953–1955||The Senkaku Islands Mentioned in US Civil Administration Documents||Read ≫|
|1952||San Francisco Peace Treaty and Provisions of the Government of the Ryukyu Islands (US Civil Administration Ordinance No. 68)||Read ≫|
|June 17, 1971||Signing of the Okinawa Reversion Treaty||Read ≫|
|December 26, 1969||Prior Notification and Lease of Kuba Island to Be Used as US Military Bombardment and Shooting Target||Read ≫|
|From 1968||Active Response to Taiwanese Workers Dismantling Wrecks (Kuba Island)||Read ≫|
|1961||Fixed Property Taxes and Taxation of Usage Fees for Military Firing Range||Read ≫|
|July 9–13, 1970||Warning Signboards Installed on Five Senkaku Islands||Read ≫|
|1950||The Senkaku Islands Included in US Occupation Government's Law Concerning the Establishment of the Archipelago Governments||Read ≫|