Despite the recent hike in attention devoted to a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute in the East China Sea, skirmishes between China and Japan over the control of the Senkaku/Diaoyu islets are nothing new. Periodically, tensions arise among Japan, China, and Taiwan over this small group of islets. This paper examines the legal grounds on which Japan’s claim to the islands rest. It emphasizes the historical ties that have led Japan to exercise administrative control over the islands. Tokyo does not acknowledge the existence of a territorial dispute with China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands - something China is ardently trying to challenge. Beijing on the contrary has tactfully used the September 2012 purchase of the islands by the Japanese government to revamp its claim to administrative control of the islands by increasing its presence in the surrounding waters.
Donatello Osti, Research Associate, International Peace & Security Institute, Washington DC.
Read the ISPI Studies - Territorial disputes in Asia. Many players, many tensions, and no solutions