Senkaku Islands

Senkaku Islands
Item# SENKAKU001

Product Description

Hey, China, not your business. Go home, stay there.

The Senkaku Islands, are a group of uninhabited islands controlled by Japan in the East China Sea. They are located roughly due east of Mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands.

After it was discovered in 1968 that oil reserves might be found under the sea near the islands, Japan's sovereignty over them has been disputed by the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (ROC, commonly known as Taiwan) following the transfer of administration from the United States to Japan in 1971. The Chinese claim the discovery and control of the islands from the 14th century. Japan controlled the islands from 1895 until its surrender at the end of World War II. The United States administered them as part of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands from 1945 until 1972, when the islands reverted to Japanese control under the Okinawa Reversion Treaty between the United States and Japan.

The islands are an issue in foreign relations between Japan and the PRC and between Japan and the ROC. Despite the complexity of relations between the PRC and ROC, both governments agree that the islands are part of Taiwan as part of Toucheng Township in Yilan County of their respective divisions. Japan does not officially recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state, and regards the islands as a part of Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture and acknowledges neither the claims of the PRC nor ROC to the islands. The Japanese government has not allowed Ishigaki to develop the islands.

The Japanese central government formally annexed the islands on 14 January 1895. Around 1900, Japanese entrepreneur Koga Tatsushiro constructed a bonito processing plant on the islands with 200 workers. The business failed in 1940 and the islands have remained deserted ever since. In the 1970s, Koga Tatsushiro's descendents Zenji and Hanako; sold four islets to the Kurihara family of Saitama Prefecture. Kunioki Kuriharaowned Uotsuri, Kita-Kojima, and Minami-Kojima. Kunioki's sister owns Kuba.

The islands came under US government occupation in 1945 after the surrender of Japan ended World War II.In 1969, the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE) identified potential oil and gas reserves in the vicinity of the Senkaku Islands. In 1971, the Okinawa Reversion Treaty passed the U.S. Senate, returning the islands to Japanese control in 1972. Also in 1972, the Taiwanese and Chinese governments officially began to declare ownership of the islands.

Since the islands reverted to Japanese government control in 1972, the mayor of Ishigaki has been given civic authority over the territory. The Japanese central government, however, has prohibited Ishigaki from surveying or developing the islands. In 1979 an official delegation from the Japanese government composed of 50 academics, government officials from the Foreign and Transport ministries, officials from the now-defunct Okinawa Development Agency, and Kurihara Hiroyuki, visited the islands and camped on Uotsuri for about four weeks. The delegation surveyed the local ecosystem, finding moles and sheep, studied the local marine life, and examined whether the islands would support human habitation.

From 2002 to 2012, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications paid the Kurihara family 25 million a year to rent Uotsuri, Minami-Kojima and Kita-Kojima. Japan's Ministry of Defense rents Kuba island for an undisclosed amount. Kuba is used by the U.S. military as a practice aircraft bombing range. Japan's central government completely owns Taisho island.

On 17 December 2010, Ishigaki declared January 14 as "Pioneering Day" to commemorate Japan's 1895 annexation of the Senkaku Islands. China condemned Ishigaki's actions. In 2012, both the Tokyo Metropolitan and Japanese central governments announced plans to negotiate purchase of Uotsuri, Kita-Kojima, and Minami-Kojima from the Kurihara family.

On 11 September 2012, the Japanese government nationalized its control over Minamikojima, Kitakojima, and Uotsuri islands by purchasing them from the Kurihara family for 2.05 billion. China's Foreign Ministry objected saying Beijing would not "sit back and watch its territorial sovereignty violated."