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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 14:53 03/09/2007
News Review #202: March 25, 2004

Japan told not to harm Diaoyu Islands activists

Reviewed by Hitoshi URABE

"Japan told not to harm Diaoyu Islands activists"
People's Daily (China)


The name of the island, called as such in Chinese, is called "Senkaku Islands" in Japan where it is strongly believed that the islands belong to them. The official stance of the Japanese Government on this regard can be viewed at their site. (1)

As far as the core facts of what happened are concerned, the descriptions by the article coincides with the reports published in Japan, allowing it to be assumed as fairly accurate. It reports that a group of Chinese "activists" landed on one of the "Senkaku" islands, and were caught by the local (Japanese) police for illegal entry into Japan.

In fact, this is a second incident this year in the similar attempt of advocacy. The first was in mid-January, when a bunch of activists embarked on two fishing boats and headed for Senkaku Islands, but was repelled by water canons on coast guard patrol boats.(2) This time, perhaps learning from experience, they utilized a new tactic. The activists dispatched small rubber rafts near the island from the fishing boats that took them there, thus evading Japanese patrol boats successfully to land on the island. As apparently that was the whole purpose of their expedition, they were taken in by the police, which also was supposedly in accordance with their original scenario, in the aim of exciting the media.

If there were anyone getting excited, however, it was limited to a certain segment of Japanese media, who claimed that having the Chinese citizens, activists or not, under custody by Japanese authorities would risk a backlash from China and endanger the relationship between the two countries.

As can be seen in the article introduced above, the People's Daily from China, which is considered to perform the role of a spokesperson for the government from time to time, reports the incident in a very calm and subdued manner. Although, and understandably, it reports that their government claims the islands are theirs, and show their concern for the safety of their citizens, there is practically no sign of support for the behaviors of the activists.

Territorial disputes have been perhaps the most often-used excuse for starting wars since the dawn of "civilization", and while there are still too many case examples everywhere, there seem to be encouraging signs that some regimes have begun to realize the unproductiveness inherent in this line of thought. Japan has adopted and exercised that notion for more than half a century, but as a practical matter, the ideology is impossible to pursue unless the other parties concur and respect that recognition.

While some suspect that the recursive attempts by the "activists" could be sponsored by their government in a high-level tactic to gradually acquire an advantageous position in the possible negotiations to commence eventually, it is still noteworthy for the attitudes of both governments to handle the matter coolly.

Note1: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has a brief explanation regarding the possession of the islands, at:

Note2: The incident in January was covered by this review No.186, and can be seen at:

(The original article the review referred to also is apparently still available.)

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications