By Mei Jingya & Li Hongmei, Sina English
For today’s Japan, sea expansion or territorial grab could be a shot in the arm to wake up its ailing society.
An editorial written in the Global Times has said that China has only to bide its time in disputes with Japan, particularly over Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.
A fishing competition was launched Saturday by a right-wing Japanese organization in the waters of the Diaoyu Islands. Roughly 120 Japanese citizens, including six senators and over 30 political activists aboard 14 fishing ships, took part.
The competition, however, was not heavily reported by the Japanese media, perhaps, for fear that doing so could bring fresh disputes between Beijing and Tokyo in a year which marks the 40th anniversary of normalization of bilateral relationship, and considering that China has grown up to be Japan’s leading trade partner.
Nevertheless, Japanese lawmakers on Monday pushed for a tougher stance on China during a parliamentary hearing over Diaoyu Islands, according to Japanese media reports.The hearing was held just a day after a dozen of right-wing activists’ fishing trip to waters off the islands.
Tokyo Gov. Ishihara, who set up a fund for donation for the municipal government of Tokyo to purchase the Diaoyu Islands from a Japanese family, had earlier revealed that he had already raised more than 1.1 billion yen to the fund.
Addressing the hearing committee, Ishihara accused the government of inaction in defense of the islets. He said he knew it was absurd for the government of Tokyo to step in, but he felt obliged to do so.Ishihara added that he is willing to eventually sell the Diaoyu Islands to the central government after Tokyo buys them.
Ishihara also called for the removal of Japanese ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa, who voiced objection to the governor’s islands purchase plan in a recent interview.
Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa has expressed opposition to a plan by Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara to buy some of the islands.
"If Mr. Ishihara's plans are acted upon, then it will result in an extremely grave crisis in relations between Japan and China," Niwa said in an interview carried in the Financial Times.
Niwa warned the plan would risk the progress achieved since the two countries normalized relations in 1972, saying, "We cannot allow decades of past effort to be brought to nothing."
No decision was made at Monday’s hearing, however, several conservative politicians voiced their support for an onsite study.
What is more, the first joint military exercise between Japan's Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Indian Navy was held last week near Sagami Bay, off the coast of eastern Japan. Tokyo has also supported the Philippines, which is also involved in heated territorial disputes with China, by providing modern vessels to its navy.
In today’s Japan, slumbering economy has been plaguing the society which is increasingly aged, and the public has grown tired of a government who is incapable of bringing a silver lining to their banal life.
Sea expansion or territorial grab could be a shot in the arm. Nothing could match the illusion that through sea expansion will Japan take possession of vast market and wealth in currying favor with the electorate. The unpopular Japanese politicians could thereby gain some political capital.
In response to clamor and farce constantly produced by the Japanese hard line right wingers, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a media briefing on Monday that The Diaoyu Islands and their adjacent islets have been inherent parts of Chinese territory since ancient times, and China has indisputable sovereignty over them.
"Any unilateral action by Japan involving the Diaoyu Islands is illegal and invalid," stressed the spokesman.