Japan plans to seek international recognition for its claim of sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands through a "propaganda war," prompting analysts to suggest that the nation show its sincerity to resolve the enduring standoff since it has agreed to hold a high-level consultation with China.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry plans to establish embassies in five more countries, including South Sudan and Bhutan, in fiscal 2013, a move partly aimed at better communicating Japan's positions to the international community amid an island dispute with China, Kyodo News cited ministry officials as saying on Sunday.
The move came shortly after Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said that the country needs to "make our case to the international community by explaining our stance and opinions to foreign countries and overseas media on various occasions," the Daily Yomiuri reported Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government will dispatch three high-level officials, including Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, to relevant countries to explain the issue. Gemba will visit Britain, France and Germany from Monday to Saturday, according to the newspaper.
Japanese media reported that the foreign ministry is rushing out brochures asserting its sovereignty over the islands, which will be translated into 10 languages for the convenience of diplomats to clarify Japan's stance.
Under pressure from China, Japan has begun to switch its policy to enhance the propaganda of its claim over the islands among the international community, said Su Hao, director of the Asia-Pacific Research Center at the China Foreign Affairs University.
Su told the Global Times that Japan is resorting to two parallel measures on the issue. It has agreed to resume diplomatic talks with China, which aims to ease heated relations, while at the same time trying to gain international support by lobbying countries friendly to it.
After months in their standoff, China and Japan have decided to start a new round of vice-ministerial talks.
The agreement was reached in Tokyo on Thursday between Luo Zhaohui, head of the Asian Affairs Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and his Japanese counterpart.
Luo is the first senior diplomat to visit Tokyo since Japan moved to "nationalize" the Diaoyu Islands from what it says was private ownership on September 11. Meanwhile, a joint Japan-US exercise is to be held in November, simulating the retaking of a remote island.
Troops from Japan's Self-Defense Forces will work alongside US troops stationed in Japan for the drill near an inhabited island in Okinawa. Naval, land and air forces from both countries are expected to participate in the drills, according to Kyodo News.
It is the second military drill aimed at retaking an island after Japan and the US held a similar drill on Guam last month, though it was said not to be directed against any third country.
"The military drills held by Japan and the US show that Japan expects to use its advanced military forces to deter China on the Diaoyu Islands issue," Lü Yaodong, a researcher from the Institute of Japanese Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
"From this point, we do not see any sincerity from Japan for the upcoming talks," Lü said.
"China has shown its stance over the issue and its consistent efforts forced Japan to return to the negotiation table. However, Japan just treats the talks as a stalling tactic, aiming to postpone the issue," Liu Junhong, a researcher at the Institute of Japanese Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The New York Times commented over the weekend that the talks between China and Japan signaled that "the two nations wanted to pull back from a confrontation that has led to violent street protests in China and cat-and-mouse games between their patrol ships on the high seas."
Su warned that China should realize that the negotiation would be a long and tough process, during which more flexible means should be adopted in order to "fight against" Japan.