Ambition behind territorial claims

By Song Jong Ho
The Pyongyang Times - June 16, 2019

"What about retaking this island by fighting a war?" asked Maruyama, a member of the House of Representatives belonging to the Japan Innovation Party, as he visited Kunashir Island on May 11.

His was the latest of the persistent Japanese claims for the southern Kuril Islands.

Japan has long insisted on the "return" of the four islands of the southern Kurils, saying they are part of its territory whenever opportunity came.

As far as the southern Kuril Islands are concerned, these are the islands over which Japan, a defeated nation in the Second World War, renounced its sovereignty at the San Francisco conference in September 1951. Therefore, it has no right to claim the islands by international law.

The same is true with Tok and Diaoyu islands.

An old Japanese map made public by Japanese historian Kuboi Norio in 2017 and a Japanese geography textbook published in 1886, which was made public in south Korea, provide materials showing that the then Meiji government of Japan did not recognize Tok and Diaoyu islands as part of Japanese territory.

Japan, however, does not try to acknowledge the fact.

The Japanese government worked out a "general maritime plan" in May last year, whose gist is the strengthening of defence of territorial waters by the Maritime Safety Agency and deployment of Self-Defence Forces troops in the Nansha Islands of the South China Sea. Accordingly, it doubled the satellite circuit last year to monitor Diaoyu Island and the surrounding sea in real time and discussed the plan for introducing mini-satellite.

This year it is pushing the plan for organizing new guard and missile units and those for the restoration of fighter jet runways allegedly to "defend Nansha Islands and Diaoyu Island", the disputed waters, and for deploying them in Miyako, Ishigaki (Okinawa) and Amamio (Kagoshima) islands.

Japan has also intensified the propaganda campaign to justify its claim over the islands.

The Japanese government built a "territory and sovereignty exhibition hall" in the middle of Tokyo for the first time in January last year to promote the false propaganda that Tok and Diaoyu islands are "inherent part of Japanese territory". In May this year it decided to relocate it and expand the building area seven times larger than the old one.

The Japanese Ministry of Education and Science on March 26 approved the primary school textbook which distorts historical fact by incorporating Tok and Diaoyu islands into Shimane and Okinawa prefectures respectively and describing them as well as the southern Kurils as "inherent part of Japanese territory", thereby ensuring that it is officially used from 2020.

Though Japan insists on the claim for the islands of other countries as "part of its own territory", it is as shameless an act as trying to deceive others by a transparent guile.

History will never change even if it insists on it.

What then is the real intention of Japan’s persistent claim for the islands?

In a nutshell, it is aimed at providing favourable objective conditions for its military resurgence by constantly straining the situation in the disputed waters.

In this context, it should be noted that Japan's defence budget has hit the record high for five consecutive years.

Japan should be aware that the more it is obsessed with the unreasonable claim over the islands, the warier the neighbouring nations will become of it and such insistence will lead Japan to self-ruin.