Wed, Feb 01, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Japan stands firm on islet naming plan

ROCKY SEAS AHEAD:Reports say Tokyo hopes to finish its naming campaign by the end of next month and the islet names will be included in updated maps

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

A Formosan black bear, panda and fox, representing Taiwan, China and Japan respectively, argue over “fish island,” symbolizing the disputed Diaoyutai Islands, in a comic by Taiwanese cartoonist Tpcat.

Photo courtesy of the Taiwan pavilion at the Angouleme International Comics Festival

Japan has taken a firm stance regarding its naming of several islets belong to the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台), which are also claimed by Taiwan and China, despite repeated protests lodged by Taipei in recent months, an official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Taipei on Monday again lodged a strong protest to Tokyo over the move, the third time since the plan to name several islands was announced in November last year, Huang Ming-lung (黃明朗), secretary-general of the Association of East Asian Relations, told a regular press briefing yesterday.

The latest protest came after the Japanese daily Sankei Shimbun reported on Monday that the Japanese government on Sunday gave names to three islets adjacent to Huangwei Yu, as well as another islet close to Chiwei Yu.

Sankei Shimbun reported that the final version of the names will be included in updated versions of Japanese maps.

Taipei and Beijing both said the four islets were part of the Diaoyutais, which they both claim sovereignty over.

The four islets are among 39 uninhabited islets that are unmanned and located within the waters of the Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan.

Japan selected 99 islets as cardinal points to help it lay claim to its exclusive economic zone, 50 of which already had been given names. Out of the 49 islets that Tokyo had yet to officially name, 10 have been named under its recent naming campaign.

Tokyo reportedly plans to complete its naming campaign by the end of next month.

“We have reiterated our contention over the sovereignty of the Diaoyutai Islands and hope that Japan would refrain from making the move to avoid any harmful impact on the benign relationship between Taiwan and Japan,” Huang said.

According to Huang, the protests were filed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Japan to the Japan Interchange Association, which said it would relay the concerns to the Japanese government.

Meanwhile, China also lodged a strong protest with Japan.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Liu Weimin (劉為民) was quoted by the Chinese newspaper China Daily as saying that Tokyo’s recent naming campaign “made little sense” and would not alter the fact that the islands belong to China.

Beijing has said via the People’s Daily that the attempts by Tokyo to name the islets are a blatant move to damage China’s core interests.

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