The Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands: A Hotbed for a Hot War?

  • Unryu Suganuma


During the tenure of Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro, April 2001 through September 2006, relations between Japan and China consisted of an uninterrupted series of disagreements and confrontations. In the words of James Mulvenon, Asia specialist at the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis in Washington, DC, “This could possibly be the worst period of Sino-Japanese relations since World War II.”2 During this period, Sino-Japanese relations were tested by many issues, including visits by Japanese Prime Minister to the ceremonial Yasukuni Shrine3 and oil drilling rights with respect to disputed territory in the East China Sea, etc.4 Among these disputes, the territorial boundary in the East China Sea was a fundamental issue with respect to which neither the Japanese nor the Chinese government was willing to compromise. Japan’s uncompromising stance, which seems to have survived Koizumi’s departure from office, is largely influenced by neonationalist movements which have strengthened in political power, prevailing in politics, academic circles, and mass media. Moreover, as China has enjoyed economic expansion since 1978, Japan attempts to reverse economic stagnation since the bursting of its bubble economy in the 1990s. Ironically, the stronger China grows, the more jealous Japan becomes.


Japanese Government Liberal Democratic Party Territorial Dispute History Textbook Japanese Prime Minister 
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© James C. Hsiung 2007

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  • Unryu Suganuma

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