Japan Coast Guard Looks to Retirees for Patrol near Senkaku Islands

Tied up with surveillance in waters around the Senkaku Islands due to repeated incursions by Chinese ships, the Japan Coast Guard is looking at using end-of-life patrol vessels and reemploying retired officers.

The ideas have been proposed as Chinese government ships have continued to enter Japanese territorial waters around the Japanese-administered islands in Okinawa Prefecture since the Japanese government nationalized some of the uninhabited islands last September. China also claims the islands, which it calls Diaoyu.

A senior coast guard official said, “We cannot deal with the situation over the long term (within the current organizational structure).”

The Japan Coast Guard had a staff of 12,671 at the end of March 2012, up some 420 from 10 years ago. It had a fleet of 121 patrol ships, down three, while efforts to introduce new models are under way.

The number of patrol vessels of 1,000 tons or more, which constitute the main fleet policing territorial waters came to 51, more than some 40 such Chinese ships. They have been deployed to waters near the Senkaku Islands from across Japan.

Read the rest of the story: Japan Eyes Old Ships, Retirees for Patrol near Senkakus.

Chinese documents from 1950 found to recognize disputed islands as Japan’s

A Chinese official document drafted in 1950 recognizes Japan as the owner of a group of islands in the East China Sea, which Beijing also lays claim to.

The 20-page document, revealed by Japan Times newspaper on Friday, referred to the islands, which are known as Diaoyu in China, with their Japanese name Senkakus.

Filed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the document describes the disputed islands as part of the Ryukyu Islands, today known as Okinawa.

The document was completed in May 1970, nearly seven months after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China by the Communist Party.

Japan and China have long been in a dispute over the sovereignty of the islands, which would give the owner exclusive oil, mineral, and fishing rights in the surrounding waters.

Read the rest of the story: China doc recognized islands as Japan’s.

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Japan sends in F-15s after China flies over disputed islands

The territorial standoff between China and Japan over disputed islands in the East China Sea further escalated today after a Chinese plane was spotted in what Tokyo considers its airspace.

Though the Chinese plane was not a military aircraft, its presence is the latest provocation in a dispute that has affected economic relations between the two countries and comes just three days before Japanese elections.

The Chinese state maritime agency said that the marine surveillance plane was sent to patrol the disputed islands – known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan – along with four boats, according to China’s Global Times. Japanese boats also patrolling the disputed area were asked to leave immediately, in line with the Chinese government’s stance, the Global Times reports.

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U.S. Senate Approves Bill Stating Senkaku Islands Covered by Japan-US Security Pact

On Tuesday the United States Senate passed a defense policy bill that see Washington acknowledging that the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands are covered by the bilateral security treaty between Japan and the U.S. This move will more than surely anger China, as it recently had to be informed that while the U.S. remains quiet on the territorial dispute, it is not neutral in which country it will support.

The bill is seen as a reaffirmation of the U.S.’s commitments to the Japanese government under Article V of the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security, which was formed post-WWII. The U.S. says it will acknowledge that Japan has administration over the Senkaku Islands, located in the East China Sea, and the actions of a third-party will not change that stance, the bill states in a nod towards China‘s aggressive actions over the dispute. The overall point of the Japan-U.S. security treaty is that the United States will defend its asian ally in the event of an armed attack.

Once the bill passes through the House of Representatives, it is expected to be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama. On another topic, the bill also contains an amendment that cuts the $26 million budged for relocating some of the U.S. forces stationed in Okinawa to Guam, something the people of Japan’s southernmost island have been demanding for years. The Japanese government has agreed to pay half of the relocation fees, up to $830 million, and the U.S. repeatedly stated it make efforts to reduce the Okinawa’s burden of hosting more than half of all the troops stationed in Japan, however little action has been taken over the years and no timeframes have been set.

Japan Seeks Talks with US over China’s ‘increasingly assertive maritime activities’

Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto has said that his country is seeking talks with the United States to update their mutual defense guidelines.

Morimoto said that he would like to see the talks begin next month and cover a wide range of issues, including a rethink of what actions the countries could take in emergencies.

According to the Japan Times, Morimoto also expressed concern over China’s increasingly assertive maritime activities.

He cited concerns over China’s growing naval power, along with terrorism and cybercrimes.

For the past few months, Japan and China have been locked in a dispute over the Japan-held Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, the paper said.

The US is security treaty-bound to defend Japan if it is attacked, it added.

According to the report, the U.S. has about 52,000 service members stationed in Japan.

Read the rest of the story: Japan seeks defense talks with US over China’s ‘increasingly assertive maritime activities’.

China and Japan looking to the U.S. on disputed islands

As China and Japan continue to wrangle over a chain of uninhabited islands that have sparked protests in both countries, near-miss naval incidents, and lots of tough words, diplomats from both Asian powers are increasingly emphasizing the United States’s role in the dispute.

The United States seems to be trying to stay as far away from the dispute as possible. But the fact that both China and Japan already seem to perceive the United States as implicitly involved, simply by virtue of it being the dominant Pacific military and diplomatic power, speaks to the difficulty America may face in navigating the coming Pacific century.

The official U.S. position on the islands — Diaoyu in Chinese, Senkaku in Japanese, claimed by both — is a bit contradictory. The State Department says it has no position and leaves it to China and Japan to decide, but also that, in the event of a military conflict over the island, America’s treaty with Japan would require it to take that country’s side.

Read the rest of the story: China and Japan looking to the U.S. on disputed islands.

Chinese Surveillance Ships Enter Waters Around Disputed Islands

Four Chinese government ships entered territorial waters around disputed Tokyo-controlled islands early Thursday, the Japan Coast Guard said.Three maritime surveillance vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile zone around one of the islands in the East China Sea shortly after 6:30 a.m., the coast guard said in a statement. Another surveillance ship joined them one hour later.The four Chinese vessels were off Minamikojima, one of the islands in a chain known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China.

Read the rest of the story: Chinese ships enter waters around disputed islands.

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US Treaty with Japan Covers Islets in China Spat

The uninhabited islets in the East China Sea at the center of a bitter dispute between China and Japan are “clearly” covered by a 1960 security treaty obliging the United States to come to Japans aid if attacked, a top U.S. diplomat said on Thursday.

“We do not take a position on the ultimate sovereignty of these islands,” Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, told a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee.

Japan has controlled the rocky islets since 1895 – except during the 1945-1972 U.S. post-war occupation of Okinawa – and calls them the Senkakus. China, and rival Taiwan, maintain they have an older claim and call them the Diaoyu islands.

“We do acknowledge clearly … that Japan maintains effective administrative control … and, as such, this falls clearly under Article 5 of the Security Treaty,” Campbell said at the panels hearing on Asian territorial disputes.

Read the rest of the story: Treaty with Japan covers islets in China spat – US official.

Japan Opposition Party Candidates Vow to Protect Islands

Four lawmakers vying for leadership of Japan’s main opposition party have promised to protect Japan’s control of islands at the center of a territorial furor with China.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe blasted China at a press conference Wednesday after anti-Japanese riots flared across China. He says that if Beijing can’t protect Japanese living in China it “should not enjoy membership in the international society.”

The conservative Liberal Democratic Party chooses a leader Sept. 26. The winner may become prime minister if the LDP wins elections that the prime minister has said he will call soon.

Former defense chief Shigeru Ishiba says that “losing a piece of the territory eventually means losing the whole country.”

A fifth candidate, Nobutaka Machimura, was hospitalized Tuesday for exhaustion but remains in the race.

Read the rest of the story: Japan opposition candidates vow to protect islands.