Tokyo raises 1 billion yen to purchase disputed islands

05/28/2012
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TOKYO (majirox news) — China and Japan are fighting over a tiny group of islands, which are 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) southwest of Tokyo, in the East China Sea between Taiwan and Okinawa prefecture.

China even cancelled a visit to Japan of its top military leader in May, and ignored Prime Minister Noda at a summit meeting in Beijing earlier the same month, in part to show their anger over the Senkaku Islands. The islands are administered by Japan, but China and Taiwan also claim them.

Another development has caused the dispute to escalate even further.

Tokyo’s Governor Shintaro Ishihara is determined to purchase three of the islands, which are rich in fishing grounds and possible energy resources and minerals. Nearly 12.5 million dollars has already been raised in donations.

“The people of Tokyo have raised one billion yen in a short period of time, which thankfully shows that the Japanese spirit still lives on,” he said at a press conference in Toko on May 25. ” Moreover, if a foreign country declared that they were going to rob your house, would you would protect it? I will totally protect my house.”

A reporter asked Ishihara at the conference if relations with other countries would change if Tokyo purchased the Senkaku Islands.

“The Japanese people and the country will ensure maximum protection for their own country, and what other country besides China would object to it?” he said.

The islands are owned by a Japanese family who rent them to Japan’s government for 301,650 dollars a year, and the situation is now being followed by many Japanese citizens.

A Tokyo businessman said, “With regards to how well his (Ishihara) position matches that of the citizens of Tokyo or the country as a whole, I believe that his decision is a little premature.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Japanese family who owns the island has said they are continuing negotiations with Ishihara and the government over the purchase. Having inherited the land, they promised never sell the islands to any individual or company, only to the Japanese government.

Since the transfer of administration from United States to Japan in 1971, ownership of the islands by Japan has been disputed by China and Taiwan. The Chinese claim the discovery and control of the islands from the 14th century. Japan controlled the islands from 1895 until the country’s surrender at the end of World War II.

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