I am Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
Thank you very much, Dr. Hamre, for your warm introduction.
Thank you Mr Armitage and thank you Dr. Green. These men are not only my friends but they have been my mentor for decades. Thank you all for joining me today.
I have returned to power. I will be Prime Minister of Japan for at least three years. My health is excellent.
Last year, Former Under Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Professor Joseph Nye, Professor Michael Green and others published a paper about Japan's drift in relationship with the US. They questioned whether Japan would end up becoming a Tier-two nation.
In case there is someone in the audience who does not know this term Tier-two nation, I will explain it to you.
Tier-one nations, such as United States, are fully committed and comply with the concept of an agreement or treaty. Tier-two nations are semi-compliant with the concept and are making an effort to be a Tier-one nation. Tier-three nations, such as North Korea and Syria are not complying with the agreement nor making any effort to improve their status.
First of all, I agree to a certain extent with Mr. Armitage and Professor Nye’s paper of April 2012. Japan under Prime Minister Noda's administration was in fact drifting toward a Tier-two nation, that means, Japan was not fully committing to the US/Japan security treaty. P.M. Noda was not enthusiastic regarding collective defense nor rewriting Japan’s Pacifist Constitution. However, I have returned to power as of December of 2012 and I will not let my country degrade to the level of a Tier-two status. You can count on me.
This is important. In the event the US, our ally, is not willing to get involved in a conflict with the People's Republic of China over the waters of the Senkakus; Japan has the capability and will, and under my command, shall defend herself. Japan has a history of defending her sovereign land and sea up until my country lost the war in 1945. I must add, if Japan defends herself against China, a nuclear nation, then Japan must consider arming nuclear war heads and a missile offense system. This means, Japan will no longer be a passive nation.
I have already ordered an increase in our military budget. A new cruiser, which is a small aircraft carrier, has been added. We increased the number of submarines, added F-35 stealth bombers, a modern surveillance systems and so on. Let me be clear, I do not want to send our young men and women in harm’s way. I do not want to ask American young men and women to be in harm’s way. At all cost an armed conflict in the Pacific region must be avoided.
I agree with the two gentlemen, regarding Japan’s weak economy. You hear the word "Abenomics" a lot these days, this has been coined by the markets. I want to get Japan out of deflation that has lasted over a decade. Thus quantitative easement by the Bank of Japan is currently in process. It seems to be working at the moment. I understand Japan must cut spending across the board, except defense, which will be increased. I also agree that Japanese women must participate more in the political and economic sphere. This all takes time and patience. In order to strengthen Japan's economic, military and social network, Japan must reform her basic structure - medical, insurance, immigration, taxes and so on. I am doing just that.
Japan needs US assistance in defending her maritime safety, voyaging through thousands of miles of a long sea-lane. Japan and the US can form a formidable naval power in the Pacific region. After all, America and Japan are the leading democratic nations in the Asia Pacific.
Let's talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership of which I am a strong advocate. However, we must iron out some differences. My country is not as strong as America, we do not have America's resources. Yet, I want to make Japan one of the biggest markets for the rest of the world. In order to achieve that, we need rules and regulations which are designed, enforced, and fair to all nations involved in the TPP agreement. For that reason we should not hasten a conclusion.
Japan will not ease economic sanctions with North Korea until they give up on developing a nuclear arsenal, missiles technologies, and return the abducted Japanese citizens to their homeland. This is not only a regional matter, it is a global one. Japan, on my watch, will work tirelessly with the US, South Korea, and the United Nations to stop them from pursuing those ambitions.
Let me say a few words on China. Beijing must stop threatening my country, as well as the Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. History and international law both attest to the fact that the islands are Japan's sovereign territory. After all, for the period between 1895 and 1971, no challenge was ever made by anyone against Japanese sovereignty. We will not tolerate any challenge now, or in the future. No nation should underestimate the firmness of our resolve. No one should ever doubt the robustness of the Japan-US Alliance.
My government is investing more in people to people exchanges between Japan and China. For me, Japan's relations with China stand out as among the most important. I have never ceased to pursue what I call a "Mutually Beneficial Relationship Based on Common Strategic Interests" with China. The doors are always open on my side for the Chinese leaders.
Japan will continue our fight against terrorism. January of this year, ten Japanese and three American engineers were killed at a gas plant in Algeria. It still hurts me when I think about those innocent workers and how they were mercilessly killed. We will foster global ambitions in promoting human rights, the fight against poverty, illness and the environment.
Before I conclude, let me say a few words on the US military spending in Japan. We can cut spending by combining our forces. In the near future we will buy the Boeing/Bell Ospreys to deploy in Okinawa and other remote islands. Asia Pacific and the Indo-Pacific regions are developing very quickly. Security is paramount. The US and Japan must lead in the protection of the region. Recently, Japan provided the Philippines with ten second hand patrol boats. Vietnam must be protected as well.
The Japanese voters have given me a renewed opportunity as their Prime Minister. Each morning I wake up with a solemn and somber sense of tremendous responsibility. I look to the future to make Japan the second biggest emerging market, and an ever more trusted partner for the region and the world.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak at CSIS. I enjoyed my time here with you all and look forward to a repeat invitation.
原稿を書かれた方は、so shall Japan beや、Must Japan beと書いている。これは、モーゼの十戒から引用したと思われるが、演説の憲法は「平易でシンプル」なのです。アメリカのＭＢ（ビジネス修士科）で最初に習うのが、ＫＩＳＳ、つまり、keep it simple stupidなのである。他にも、「日本人英語」つまり「独りよがり」の言い回しが随所に見られる。聴衆は、高学位の人々です。幼い表現は笑われる。
can,should, must, shallの定義を知らない。それぞれ、定義があるのです。だから、全てを、willに変えたのです。ここが理解出来ないなら、英文原稿を書くべきではないのです。「対外広報」とは、簡単な仕事じゃないのです。まず、世耕チーム監督が英語が出来なければいけない。出来るなら、失礼を詫びます。尾崎信義・クリステイン
Abe asks McCain to cooperate in moving Okinawa-based U.S. Marines
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked U.S. Sen. John McCain on Wednesday to cooperate in moving U.S. Marine Corps personnel to Guam from Okinawa, calling for a budgetary allocation needed to proceed with the plan agreed on between the two countries.
At a separate meeting in Tokyo, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and the senator agreed to move forward the overall plan to realign U.S. forces in Japan, which is aimed at easing the base-hosting burden on the southern island prefecture, Japanese officials said.
The forward-looking stance taken by the veteran senator, the Republican candidate in the 2008 presidential race who exerts influence over the U.S. defense budget, could signal a change on the Marine relocation issue, whose slow progress is blamed on Senate reluctance over potential costs.
"I express my appreciation for your efforts at developing the Japan-U.S. alliance relations," Abe told McCain at the outset of the meeting at the prime minister's office.
The senator congratulated Abe for his leadership, noting that the prime minister has given hope not just to Japanese people but also to the United States and the world through his economic policy known as "Abenomics."
During the meeting with McCain, Abe briefed the senator on his government's attempt to change the interpretation of the war-renouncing Constitution to enable Japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense, according to the officials.
"While the regional security (environment) is changing, I hope Japan and the United States will contribute to peace and stability in the region and the international community," Abe was quoted as telling the senator.
At a post-meeting press conference, McCain said the constitutional reform would strengthen the alliance and reinforce Japan's national security.
The current environment presents challenges not foreseen when the pacifist Constitution was introduced in 1947, including piracy and a need to aid allies such as the United States if attacked by terrorists, McCain said.
During the meeting with McCain at the Defense Ministry, Onodera also expressed appreciation for a U.S. Senate resolution in late July condemning the use of force to assert claims to disputed islands in the East and South China seas in light of China's growing maritime assertiveness.
"We will continue to conduct warning and surveillance activities" in the East China Sea, Onodera said, adding that Tokyo has been calling on Beijing to set up a hotline to prevent accidents.
McCain expressed concern about China's increased assertiveness at sea and support for Tokyo on the issue as tensions remain high between the two countries over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China.
"We continue to hear rhetoric from certain authorities in China, which is not helpful," the senator said, adding that a recent rise in the number of patrol ships in waters near the disputed islands does not bode well for "a peaceful resolution" of the dispute.
At his news conference, McCain even described the islands, called Diaoyu in China, as "Japanese territory," deviating from the official U.S. stance that the United States does not take a position on the sovereignty of the islands and that it only acknowledges that they are under Japan's administration.
"The fact is the Chinese are violating fundamental rights that Japan has to the Senkakus. I think it would be a mistake to treat it any other way," he said. "To assume anything but the fact that the Senkakus are Japanese territory, I think, would be contradiction to the facts."
McCain said nations feeling increasingly threatened by China's maritime presence "need to act in closer coordination with each other" and present a united front to China by first reconciling their own overlapping claims to marine territories.
The uninhabited islets have been at the center of heightened tensions between Japan and China since Tokyo purchased last September major parts of them from a private Japanese owner, preventing the leaders of the countries from holding a summit.
On the realignment of U.S. forces, Onodera stressed in Wednesday's meeting the importance of following through on a bilateral agreement reached last year to transfer some 9,000 of the 19,000 U.S. Marines in Okinawa to Guam and elsewhere outside of Japan as doing so will help ease burden on the prefecture, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military bases in Japan.
"Unless the transfer to Guam is realized, the reduction of burden on Okinawa and the current plan to return the land south of Kadena Air Base would not be implemented," Onodera told McCain during their meeting, according to the officials.
McCain concurred that is an important point and that it is necessary for both Washington and Tokyo to accelerate efforts to complete the realignment of U.S. forces in Asia.
Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also met with McCain on Wednesday, asking for cooperation from U.S. Congress in allocating a necessary budget to proceed with the planned transfer of Marine personnel from Okinawa.
Still, the outlook for securing enough funds to transfer the Marines remains uncertain in the United States, as the Senate has called for more details and clarity on the plan amid concern about a potential increase in the relocation cost in times of fiscal difficulties.
Onodera and McCain also discussed the thorny issue of relocating the Marines' Futenma Air Station, located in a densely populated area in Okinawa, to a reclaimed area within the island, as the U.S. senator expressed hope that Tokyo will be able to gain local approval for the necessary reclamation.
The people of Okinawa have opposed the planned relocation and want the air base moved out of the prefecture, and Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima has yet to make a final decision on whether to approve Tokyo's application to for the necessary land reclamation work.
By Associated Press, Published: August 19
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Monday that he will visit China next year to capitalize on an improving trend in U.S.-China relations, even as Beijing casts a wary eye on the Pentagon’s strategic “pivot” to Asia and the Pacific.
During a break in meetings at the Pentagon, Hagel and his Chinese counterpart, Gen. Chang Wanquan, told reporters they see room for greater U.S.-China military cooperation, including joint exercises and high-level visits. Chang affirmed that China’s navy next year will participate for the first time in a major international maritime exercise known as Rim of the Pacific.
Hagel said he accepted Chang’s invitation to visit Beijing in 2014. The last U.S. defense secretary to visit China was Leon Panetta in September 2012.
Chang and Hagel both spoke hopefully of building greater trust between the two nations’ militaries and chipping away at long-held suspicions. But Chang in particular cautioned against mistaking his country’s friendliness for weakness.
“No one should fantasize that China would barter away our core interests, and no one should underestimate our will and determination in defending our territory, sovereignty and maritime rights,” Chang said through an interpreter.
He appeared to be referring to China’s disputes with Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and other Asian nations over territorial boundaries in the South China Sea. Hagel alluded to these tensions, saying in a prepared statement that while the U.S. does not take sides in territorial claims, it encourages all parties to avoid allowing tensions to escalate into armed conflict.
Chang seemed to suggest that the U.S. not intervene in the territorial disputes.
“The Asia-Pacific is our common homeland,” Chang said. “Any action that leads to trouble or provocation, any unwanted action out of self-interest or (that) further complicates or magnifies the situation would be highly irresponsible and will not lead to a favorable result.”
The Obama administration for more than a year has promised a strategic pivot to the Asia-Pacific region following more than a decade of intense focus on the greater Middle East.
Chang said China hopes this shift, which Washington now calls a “rebalance,” will be done constructively and as part of a comprehensive approach that includes greater U.S. economic and social interaction in the region. Already, however, it appears that Washington is focusing primarily on increased military activity, he said.
He said “certain Asia Pacific nations” have noticed that the military component of an adjusted U.S. strategy in the region is being “highlighted.” He appeared to be alluding in part to new U.S. Marine rotational deployments to Australia.
“We also noticed that the frequency and intensity of such joint military exercises are increasing in recent time,” he said. “To a certain degree this kind of intensified military activity further complicated the situation in the region.” He did not elaborate.
Last Bernanke Years Shows No Sign of Buyer’s Remorse
By Caroline Salas Gage - Aug 18, 2013 6:01 PM CT
U.S. markets are backing up Ben S. Bernanke’s assertion that he has the best inflation record of any Federal Reserve chairman since World War II.
Since Bernanke took office in February 2006, inflation as measured by the personal-consumption-expenditures price index has averaged 1.9 percent. Criticism from Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, that the Fed’s stimulus would spark a rapid acceleration in prices is unfounded, bond yields show. Traders anticipate prices will rise at a 2.17 percent rate in the next decade, near the Fed’s 2 percent goal.
June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke offers his views on the outlook for the U.S. economy and labor market, and the central bank's unprecedented bond-buying program and benchmark interest rate. Bernanke speaks at a news conference following a meeting of the central bank's policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee in Washington.
“There’s a pretty pervasive expectation that inflation rates remain reasonably stable,” said Keith Hembre, chief economist at Nuveen Asset Management in Minneapolis, which manages about $120 billion. “Certainly, there are a number of critics, but if you just look at the performance of the market and the measure of financial conditions, at least here over the near-term you’d conclude the policies have been successful.”
How Bernanke’s unprecedented monetary stimulus will be perceived by historians ultimately depends on whether the Fed can attain its goal of price stability once the economy gains momentum, said Hembre, a former researcher at the Minneapolis Fed“Judgment day hasn’t come yet.”
“A critical part” of the next Fed chairman’s job “is making sure that we keep inflation in check,” President Barack Obama said at an Aug. 9 White House news conference. He also reiterated that Bernanke’s successor must continue trying to reduce unemployment, as “the challenge is we’ve still got too many people out of work.”
Bernanke, whose second term ends in January, has swelled the central bank’s balance sheet to a record $3.65 trillion through three rounds of so-called quantitative easing. The bond buying has increased the quantity of bank reserves in the system as policy makers direct the markets desk at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to purchase securities from primary dealers, or brokers who are authorized to trade directly with the central bank. This adds funds to the dealers’ accounts and creates reserves at their clearing banks.
The surge in excess reserves “may mean nothing” for inflation, said James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management in Minneapolis with more than $342 billion under management as of March 31. “If they never leave the Federal Reserve building, why does it matter? There’s a part of me that really believes that, but we don’t know.”
While some observers once regarded Alan Greenspan as the world’s greatest central banker, his legacy has been tarnished because the U.S. entered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression in 2007, the year after Bernanke’s predecessor left the Fed.
Bernanke, who won’t attend the Kansas City Fed’s annual economic-policy symposium on Aug. 22-24 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, has said the central bank will stop the economy from overheating by relying primarily on its ability to pay interest on the cash it holds for banks.
Bond markets are showing confidence in the Fed’s ability to succeed: Debt traders anticipate prices will accelerate at a 2.17 percent rate during the next decade as measured by the break-even rate for 10-year Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, a yield differential between the inflation-linked debt and Treasuries that measures projections for consumer prices over the life of the securities.
“He’s not going to be viewed as the unwitting architect of a ruinous series of price inflation,” said John Lonski, chief economist at Moody’s Capital Markets Research Group in New York. “I just don’t see that happening, and the TIPS -- they don’t see that happening either.”
Five-year break-even rates, at 1.8 percent on Aug. 16, have fallen from 2.47 percent in April 2011, when inflation expectations climbed after the Fed announced QE2 in November 2010. The $600 billion of bond purchases sparked the harshest political backlash against the central bank in three decades from Republicans, including Boehner and former Representative Ron Paul of Texas. Economists such as Stanford University’s John B. Taylor also said QE2 showed no evidence of working and risked stoking inflation.
The surge in prices has yet to materialize. Inflation reached 2.9 percent in September 2011 -- the highest since October 2008, the month after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed -- and has since fallen to 1.3 percent, based on the personal-consumption-expenditures price index.
Bernanke bragged about his inflation record in response to being called “the biggest dove” since World War II by Senator Robert Corker, a Tennessee Republican, during a Feb. 27 Senate Banking Committee hearing.
“You called me a dove. Well, maybe in some respects I am,” Bernanke said. “But on the other hand, my inflation record is the best of any Federal Reserve chairman in the post-war period or at least one of the best.”
Lonski said he sees inflation as “well-contained, indefinitely” because wages aren’t growing by more than 2 percent annually.
The Fed chairman still faces “a lot of mixed feelings” because his unconventional policies may have “opened Pandora’s box” for activism, Paulsen said. It’s also questionable how much the Fed’s bond buying has helped the U.S. economy, he said.
While Bernanke has boasted about his record on price stability, he has failed to attain the central bank’s other goal: full employment. The jobless rate was 7.4 percent in July, still above the 5 percent rate when the recession began in December 2007 although down from a peak of 10 percent in October 2009.
And just because inflation hasn’t picked up thus far doesn’t mean it won’t, which may damage Bernanke’s legacy, said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. Stanley has criticized the Fed’s policies and said he expected prices to accelerate faster than they have.
“Where Bernanke is subject to a pretty big reassessment is twofold: on maintaining the crisis stance of policy for far too long” and whether “the Fed’s faith in their exit strategy will prove to have been wise or misguided,” Stanley said.
Bernanke said in February that policy makers are reconsidering their earlier plan to sell bonds as part of a tightening strategy. The Fed chairman said no country has ever had a comparable increase in the size of its portfolio and unwound it “in the precisely analogous way.”
He has called the ability to pay interest on reserves “the principal tool that we contemplate” for withdrawing stimulus. The Fed gained this tool in 2008 and has never used it to tighten policy.
“I still have my doubts on the degree to which the Fed is going to be able to exit the stance of policy in an orderly way,” Stanley said. He pointed to the “pretty dramatic move in markets” that resulted from a “pretty subtle shift” earlier this year when Bernanke outlined on June 19 the conditions that would prompt the Fed to reduce and ultimately end asset purchases.
Bernanke’s remarks pushed the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury to a 22-month high and erased $3 trillion in value from global equity markets over five days. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of stocks has climbed 29 percent to 1,655.83 (SPX) from 1,282.46 on Feb. 1, 2006, the day Bernanke became chairman.
The Fed is buying $85 billion of bonds a month, and policy makers are weighing whether the economy has improved enough to warrant scaling back their stimulus. Bernanke said in June they may reduce the purchases later this year and halt them around mid-2014 if economic performance improves as projected.
Fed officials expect the economy to grow 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent this year and 3 percent to 3.5 percent in 2014, according to the central tendency estimates of policy makers’ June forecasts, which exclude the three highest and three lowest.
“Once we get back to the point where the economy is fully employed, there’s a lot of fuel there that could potentially stoke a more meaningful risk in inflation,” Hembre said. “We don’t have the dynamics in place for that to happen here in the near-term.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Caroline Salas Gage in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Clinton Answers Republican Messages Before 2016 Primaries
By John McCormick - Aug 12, 2013 11:00 PM CT
Clinton Urges Defense of U.S. Voting Rights
Hillary Clinton, sending her most visible signal yet that she wants her voice heard ahead of a potential 2016 presidential bid, said she plans to deliver a series of speeches this year on various U.S. policy topics.
“Confidence in most of our important institutions has fallen to historic lows, even as our need for solid footing in a rapidly changing world has never been greater,” the former U.S. secretary of state said yesterday in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco. “Many Americans continue to lose faith and trust in the press, in banks, in sports heroes, and the clergy and just about every institution.”
The former senator from New York said she will deliver a address in Philadelphia next month on the balance and transparency needed in national security policies. Later this year, she is planning a speech on “America’s global leadership and our standing around the world.”
Clinton, 65, is casting a large shadow over the political field, even though she’s given no verbal suggestion that she plans to run for president a second time. The subjects of her speeches indicate that she plans to weigh in on the biggest division between the two parties and one likely to define the 2016 campaign -- the role of the federal government at home and abroad. Republicans are being pressed by small-government Tea Party activists to reduce the reach of Washington, while Clinton is countering that stance.
The former first lady’s dominance in the pre-2016 maneuvering is so pervasive that she’ll also take center stage - - although not literally -- when the Republican National Committee gathers for a meeting in Boston starting tomorrow.
RNC members are expected to vote Aug. 16 on a resolution from Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus that would block presidential primary debate partnerships with NBC and CNN if the television networks don’t cancel planned Clinton documentaries that he calls free advertising for a prospective Democratic candidate.
Clinton is also upstaging Vice President Joe Biden, who is planning to speak next month at Democratic Senator Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry in Iowa. The event, held in the state that traditionally hosts the first primary campaign voting, has often showcased candidates contemplating presidential bids.
Without lifting a finger, Clinton already has the backing of an experienced fundraising team, veteran voter-turnout specialists from a winning 2012 presidential campaign and donations of more than $1 million. Those encouraging her to run have created what amounts to the most robust campaign infrastructure yet among any Democrats considering a run for the White House in 2016.
On Clinton’s behalf, the Ready for Hillary super-political action committee is building a database of supporters and donors, lining up endorsements and signing experienced campaign hands. It also raised $1.25 million through the end of June, the majority of it in just one month.
Clinton’s focus yesterday was on what she called the “assault on voting rights” that she sees in states passing laws that are said to stop voter fraud yet labeled by critics as directed at suppressing turnout by minorities and others.
“We do, let’s admit it, have a long history of shutting people out: African-Americans, women, gays and lesbians, people with disabilities,” she said. “And throughout our history we have found too many ways to divide and exclude people from their ownership of the law and protection under the law.”
A June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that struck down a core provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act has triggered in certain states an “unseemly rush by previously covered jurisdictions to enact or enforce laws that will make it harder for millions of our fellow Americans to vote,” Clinton said.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, a Republican, yesterday signed into law one of the nation’s most wide-ranging voter identification laws.
The law -- approved by the Republican-controlled state legislature -- requires that voters present a government-issued photo identification at the polls rather than the current system that also allows for use of student ID cards issued by the state’s public universities and community colleges.
The measure also shortens the early-voting period before Election Day, ends same-day registration and prohibits high school students from registering before their 18th birthdays.
Clinton, speaking with the assistance of a teleprompter, called the North Carolina efforts the “greatest hits of voter suppression.”
She called for new legislation from Congress, stepped up enforcement by the Justice Department and more watchdog activity on the part of lawyers and citizens at the local level.
“As secretary of state, I saw other countries take steps to increase voter participation and strengthen their democratic processes,” she said. “There is no reason we can’t do the same here in America.”
China Tests Japan on Island Claims After Philippine Success
By Isabel Reynolds - Aug 8, 2013 4:43 AM CT
China deployed ships to waters near islands disputed with Japan for a record 28 hours, drawing a formal protest as it repeated a strategy of pressing its territorial claims through bolder projections of maritime power.
Ships from China’s newly formed coast guard remained in the Japanese-controlled waters for the longest time since Japan bought the islands last year, Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a briefing in Tokyo today. Japan’s Foreign Ministry summoned a Chinese diplomat and “sternly protested,” he said.
Enlarge image China Escalates Islands Challenge to Japan on Philippine Success
A Chinese Marine Surveillance ship, bottom, sails while Japan Coast Guard patrol ships and Taiwanese boats and coast guard vessels converge at the contiguous zone of disputed islands, known as Senkaku Islands in Japan, Diaoyu Islands in China, and Tiaoyutai in Taiwan on Jan. 24, 2013.
The Chinese deployment mirrors an approach it has taken to press its sovereignty claim in a dispute with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. The moves come as China expands its defense spending and President Xi Jinping seeks to make China a maritime power in the region.
“It’s very similar,” said Chiaki Akimoto, director of the Tokyo bureau of the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, referring to China’s actions toward Japan and the Philippines. “The idea is to escalate little by little. At the same time, they want to see how Japan reacts.”
In June, the Philippines protested what it called “the massive presence of Chinese military and paramilitary ships” around territory it claims in the South China Sea. The Philippines asked the United Nations in January to rule on its dispute with China, which moved to take control of the Scarborough Shoal a year after a standoff between Philippine and Chinese ships.
Four Chinese Coast Guard ships spent about 28 hours in Japanese-controlled waters around the islands, part of the time remaining stationary within 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of Minami Kojima island, according to e-mailed statements from the Japanese Coast Guard. The ships left the waters around the islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, at about noon today.
“It is clear that the Senkaku Islands are Japan’s territory, in terms of history and international law,” Suga said today. “This incursion into our territorial waters is the longest since our government bought the islands in September. It is extremely regrettable and we cannot accept it.”
The Chinese ships forced out Japanese “right-wingers” from waters around the disputed islands, the Chinese embassy in Japan said in a statement on its website today. The charge d’affaires filed a diplomatic protest today over the incident and requested that the Japanese ships immediately leave the territory and prevent any future incidents, it said.
The escalation comes days before the Aug. 15 anniversary of Japan’s World War II defeat, a sensitive occasion among Asian nations invaded and occupied by the country in the first half of the 20th century.
Politicians from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party may visit the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors Japan’s war dead, including leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal. Abe will stay away on the anniversary to avoid raising hackles in China and South Korea, the Nikkei newspaper reported today.
Relations between Japan and China have deteriorated since the Japanese government purchased three of the five islands from their private owner, hurting trade ties between Asia’s two largest economies. Trade data released today showed that China’s exports to Japan fell 2 percent from a year earlier in July, the sixth straight decline.
Since last September, China has regularly sent ships into the waters off the islands. In December, a Chinese marine surveillance propeller plane was spotted for the first time in Japanese-controlled airspace near the islands. Last month, Japan confirmed that Chinese ships passed through a strait just north of its territory for the first time.
The latest moves are aimed at forcing Japan to recognize China’s claim to the islands, which the government in Tokyo has so far refused to do, according to analysts including Taylor Fravel, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Like Scarborough, China is trying to create a new status quo,” Fravel said in an e-mail. “Unlike Scarborough, however, China is seeking to demonstrate that it rejects Japan’s exclusive control of the islands, not gain effective control over them.”
Xi said earlier this month that China must improve its ability to safeguard its maritime rights while settling disagreements peacefully. “In no way will the country abandon its legitimate rights and interests,” Xi said.
The Chinese action around the islands comes two days after Japan unveiled the largest military ship it has produced since World War II. Yesterday, China’s Defense Ministry said Asian neighbors must be alert to Japan’s defense buildup after it unveiled the ship.
China is expanding its military as well. The government plans to boost military spending by 10.7 percent this year, and commissioned its first aircraft carrier last year.
To contact the reporter on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nicholas Wadhams at email@example.com; Rosalind Mathieson at firstname.lastname@example.org