Chinese-Japanese Tension Escalates

Published on Author drago

Relations between China and Japan have been strained to say the least the past few months. The dispute started back in September when the Japanese government bought land in the Senkakus (Japanese term) or Diaoyu (Chinese term) islands. Both countries claim sovereignty over the islands, and thus this action outraged the Chinese. There were protestors in several Chinese cities who called for a boycott of Japanese goods, and even went as far as damaging Japanese offices and businesses. The most recent incident occurred over the weekend with the Japanese accusing a Chinese navy ship of gathering information on a Japanese warship. The Japanese looked at the incident as an act of aggression, stating that that type of data could be used to attack the ship. On Tuesday the Chinese responded saying that they were just responding to Japanese provocations. They cite several times when a Japanese plane or ship had crossed over or into Chinese water. Neither side seems to want to budge an inch, and tensions are rising.


2 Responses to Chinese-Japanese Tension Escalates

  1. It’s been a long-time issue in history… I’ve also heard anecdotes that travel agencies in China are shutting down tours to Japan. I think, except the possibility of warfare, the biggest economic concern is the event’s negative impact on Japanese commodities in China’s market. The “patriotic” sentiment has led Chinese consumers to protest against all Japanese products (cars, electronics, and etc.) every a few years. It’s definitely is a big hurt for Japanese producers, and also a risk/threat Japan has to consider for any moves.

  2. The only permanent settlement on these islands was Japanese; the family still owned the land and wanted to sell it. A right-wing firebrand (the Mayor Ishihara of Tokyo) wanted to buy the islands. With hindsight the attempt of the government to finesse the issue by buying the land was stupid.

    In any case the real dispute is with Taiwan; that somehow gets missed by people in China. Furthermore, it’s clearly tied to the leadership changes in both Japan and China, where neither side wants to be seen as giving away territory. We’ll see whether clearer heads prevail — it’s not clear that the leadership in China understands the outside world, and the track record of Japan’s Prime Minister Abe isn’t reassuring. Cool and clear thinking need not prevail.

    Coming out of WWII the islands were controlled by the US, in a context that treated them as Japanese. We chose our side on this issue 60 years ago.