Japanese academic circles have always been known for their rigor, so if the report is correct, then it is very surprising to see that even experts, when driven by strong nationalism, can claim that such a document proves that China thinks the Diaoyutais are part of the Ryukyu Islands.
It is disturbing to see that even expertise and reason are so weak in the face of nationalism.
If this is the case with Japanese academics, one cannot help but wonder what the situation is like in Taiwan.
Looking at the “efforts” of Japanese academia throughout this conflict, one cannot help but feel a need for vigilance when seeing Japanese making such an effort in their search for data. After all, where there is a will, there is a way.
In Taiwan, integrated legal and political studies into the sovereignty of the Diaoyutai Islands seems to have come to a stop after the National Security Bureau commissioned a study in 1972.
Looking at two, more detailed, sovereignty statements issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last year, a briefing about the Diaoyutai Islands conflict from the Public Diplomacy Coordination Council and a statement about the Republic of China’s position and propositions regarding sovereignty of the Diaoyutai Islands from the Department of Treaty and Legal Affairs reveal that all legal arguments are repetitions of the old arguments from the 1970s.
Apart from including the recent dispute, they include no new evidence. It is not very strange, then, that some people say with resignation that Taiwan’s legal studies of the Diaoyutai Islands sovereignty issue remain stuck in the 1970s.
Faced with this bizarre situation, it seems necessary for agencies to urgently gather domestic and international experts and release data to facilitate data gathering in order for them to conduct thorough research.
If that is not done, both Taiwan’s actions and its legal arguments during the ongoing conflict over the Diaoyutai Islands will lack any force.
Chiang Huang-chih is a professor of law at National Taiwan University.
Translated by Perry Svensson