Senkaku Islands

Protest and Acquiescence in Territorial Acquisition: In relation to the Senkaku Islands

This article focuses on the acquisition of title to territories in general in terms of international law, and then to discuss its implication for the Senkaku Islands problem in particular. And in the process, the article examines a number of questions; specifically, what significance protest has in international law, what significance an absence of protest (i.e. silence) has, whether the fact of territorial possession has notoriety, to what extent must a fact be known to achieve notoriety, what the possessing state must do to achieve notoriety, and whether third states are responsible for not knowing the fact.

International Law and Japan's Territorial Disputes

Although Japan renounced its claims to these lands, the San Francisco Peace Treaty(SFPT)failed to declare a successor State. Thus, five of the highly contentious territorial disputes that plague Asia-Pacific today have their roots in the SFPT, three of which involve Japan—Kurile Islands/Northern Territories, Liancourt Rocks (Dokdo/Takeshima) and Pinnacle Islands (Diaoyu/Senkakus). Over the years, these disputes have intensified as a result of rising nationalism and a growing demand for living and non-living ocean resources. In particular, the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which were designed to accommodate the interests of the developing States in exercising exclusive resource rights out to two hundred nautical miles (nm), have had the unintended consequence of intensifying resource competition and rekindling these longstanding territorial disputes.

Japan's Island Territories

Northern Territories Facts & Figures

The Senkaku Islands as Viewed through Chinese Law

China claims sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands and is engaged in maritime territorial disputes with several of its neighbors. The country’s domestic laws are a valuable lens for understanding its approach to these issues. Sakamoto Shigeki, a professor of international law specializing in maritime policy and legal affairs, presents a detailed examination of Chinese legal claims with respect to the Senkakus, as well as to disputed waters in the South China Sea, concluding that Japan needs to review its own legislation and to communicate closely with China to avoid an escalation.

Notes on David Helliwell's "The Clashing Rocks"

On his blog Serica, Dr. David Helliwell—curator of Chinese collections at Oxford’s Bodleian Library—penned an entry on two Chinese documents in the library’s holdings. One of these, Shunfeng xiangsong (Voyage with a Tail Wind), was completed after 1573 and is the first text to refer to the Senkaku Islands. In this essay, the Chinese classical literature specialist Ishiwi Nozomu addresses Helliwell’s treatment of this text and critically analyzes Chinese claims that it dates to 1403 and represents proof of China’s ownership of the islands from antiquity.

The clashing rocks

For sure, Diaoyutai(Senkaku) is the earliest recorded name of the islands, and the reason the matter finds itself in this blog is because by an extraordinary coincidence, the first textual references to them appear in two documents of entirely different provenance in the Bodleian Library.

China's "Diaoyu Dao White Paper" and Territorial Claims

In September 2012, the People’s Republic of China published a white paper titled “Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China,” along with a report going into greater detail on the country’s claim to the Senkaku Islands. In this essay, the defense specialist Takai Susumu spells out the historical facts that counter these documents’ claims. The Ming- and Qing-era maps and texts presented as evidence for China’s historical ownership of the islands are not convincing proof in accordance with international law, and the postwar disposition of the Senkakus shows them to be Japan’s alone.

Topography of Kitakojima Island

B. Topography and geology

Pre-World War II Surveys (1939: Masaki)

Decision to Incorporate the Senkaku Islands Into Japanese Territory (Cabinet Decision to Construct Sovereignty Markers)

January 12 and 14, 1895

Topography of Minamikojima Island

B. Topography and geology

Active Response to Taiwanese Workers Dismantling Wrecks (Minamikojima Island)

1967–1968

The Senkaku Islands Included in Geographical Scope of Okinawa Reversion Agreement

April 12, 1971

Topography of Taisho Island

B. Topography and geology

Koga Makes Request and Is Granted 30 Year Lease Free of Charge

From 1895

Proposal from US Civil Administration to Install Signboards Warning Against Illegal Entry

September 3, 1968