Japan from the inside out

Shimojo Masao (17): Information war

Posted by ampontan on Friday, September 28, 2012

THE debate over both the Senkaku islets and Takeshima, neither of which should be pending matters at all, has emerged as a major issue in East Asia. One factor is the inept diplomacy of the Japanese government. This situation will change, however, if the world is engulfed in an information war.

The South Korean news media reported yesterday that newspapers in both Spain and France criticized Japan over the Takeshima issue. The Europeans used the South Korean claim that Japanese documents exist which show the islets were not Japanese territory during the Edo period.

With these territorial disputes as a backdrop, the Russian and Chinese have begun making appeals to public opinion. This is dangerous, because the United States is now involved in a confrontation with the Muslim world. It is possible the Russian and Chinese trend could be employed for use in anti-American criticism.

There are problems with the Japanese diplomatic efforts at the United Nations. While China and Japan are couching the Senkakus and Takeshima territorial questions as historical issues, Japan is asserting that they are matters of international law.

The strategy is to brand Japan as invaders, linking the territorial issues to the comfort women in South Korea’s case, and to the Second World War in China’s case. Not only does this render the Japanese objection that there are no territorial issues meaningless, the stronger Japan speaks out, the more likely third parties will doubt what it says.

The UN Secretary-General is now a South Korean. China and Russia are permanent members of the Security Council. The Chinese have already distributed a paper to the council claiming that the Senkakus are Chinese territory.

Regardless of how often Japan insists there is no territorial issue, if the Chinese say that the Senkakus have been theirs since the 15th century, third parties will be likely to side with the Chinese claim. The mass media reports from Spain and France that side with South Korea are the result of South Korean PR.

There is no documentary evidence showing that the Japanese incorporation of the Senkakus and Takeshima was the result of an invasion. That some are making the entirely opposite interpretation shows there is a problem with the Japanese response.

Contemporary Japanese diplomacy has come to resemble that during the sequence of events from the Mukden Incident to the Second World War.

– Shimojo Masao, Takushoku University


Addressing the UN General Assembly session in New York, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said:

“The Diaoyutai have been Chinese territory since ancient times. We strongly urge Japan to immediately cease behavior that harms Chinese territorial sovereignty.”


“(Japan) should take definite action to correct its errors, and return to the course of resolving the dispute through negotiations.”


“Japan stole the islets at the end of the 1895 war….(The Japanese nationalization) is a serious challenge to the objectives and principles of the UN charter.”

Kodama Kazuo, Japan’s deputy permanent representative, exercised the right of rebuttal to argue that China didn’t begin to make this territorial claim until the 1970s. The Chinese UN ambassador came back with: “Japan persists in colonialism”.

4 Responses to “Shimojo Masao (17): Information war”

  1. indjagar said

    Well to me the Senkaku island situation seems clearly in favour of Japan (international law wise). I mean it’s been under Japanese control since 1895 and China only started having an interest in it after it found out there was petrol there.

    And in regards to the Takeshima ones, I though Japan already tried putting the issue in front of the ICJ but that Korea refused – and then the ICJ does nit have jurisdiction.

  2. yankdownunder said

    Mr. Rudd on Thursday also acknowledged the deep-seated historical debate over islands disputed between Japan and China, which have recently sent jitters through the region’s markets.

    “Japan effectively took these islands from China in 1895 after the Sino-Japanese war. Then after the American occupation of Japan, Americans returned these islands to the Japanese,” he said. “So there’s a large degree of international legal complexity underpinning all this.” Still, while tempers have flared, he said he expects both governments to try to buy time to reduce tensions.

    Mr Rudd is just an MP(ex PM/FM) now but his support of China(Japan stole the islands from China) will be welcomed here.
    Australia views Japanese as whale killers(and WW2 criminals) and China as their biggest source of income.

    During the anti-Japan riots last week SBS TV did a piece about the
    Senkaku islands. The reporter is based in China, and he had a local
    Chinese professor explain the history of the islands(ie stolen by Japan).

    Does China think it can convince the world that they should have the islands and then Japan will just surrender again? Or is this propaganda campaign supposed to get support for China to use force
    to seize the islands.
    Rudd is also a well-known Sinophile. Nothing wrong with that as long as you stick to the facts.

    – A.

  3. James A said

    Shimojo’s point illustrates perfectly why China and SK continue to be a thorn in Japan’s side, they just don’t have aggressive enough foreign diplomacy. Japan has plenty of ammo to shoot down the bogus claims of both China and SK, but they’re too timid to pull the trigger. Hate to say it, but the reason so many westerners tend to parrot the bottom line for Beijing and Seoul is due to their palms being coated with plenty of cash and favors. Lies are lies, but good lies are ones sold with dollar signs (or yuan, or won). Look at guys like Kristof and Friedman shilling for Beijing in the NYT. That paper is practically the NY branch of the CCP.

  4. toadold said

    Drawing a parallel, it has been noticed in the US that the left doesn’t hesitate to attack Christians but will nor attack Muslims. It is speculated that they realize that it is not “safe” to attack Muslims.
    S. Korea and China will demonstrate against and bad mouth Japan because they have, in my opinion, the mistaken idea that Japan won’t get violent with them. To quote Instapundit, “Anything that can’t go on forever wont.”

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