In December last year, the total number of 95 vessels of the China Coast Guard entered the contiguous zone around the Senkaku Islands, owned by the Japanese government, for 25 days, and out of 95 vessels, the total number of 12 vessels intruded into the Islands’ territorial waters for three days, according to the Japan Coast Guard’s statistical data. It is reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that “Prime Minister Abe strongly requested China’s positive responses to the East China Sea issue including waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands” at the time when Prime Minister Abe had a summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on December 23 last year. Meanwhile, the Japan Coast Guard vessels drove the China Coast Guard vessels out of Japan’s territorial waters and contiguous zone after necessary warnings. However, the Chinese vessels have never ceased intruding into Japan’s contiguous zone and territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands until now. As I mentioned in my previous article of January 24, if the Japanese government invites President Xi Jinping without resolving the crucial issue mentioned here, will the people of Japan welcome President Xi Jinping wholeheartedly? And moreover, will people around the world praise Japan?
My message is simple. If President Xi Jinping is to visit Japan, the President should announce how he intends to respond to the issues in the East China Sea including waters surrounding the Senkaku Islands. With regard to the issue on the President’s visit to Japan as a ‘state guest’, I will be delighted to welcome him if the President is willing to take positive response to Japan-owned Senkaku Islands. If not, I will object to his visit as a ‘state guest’.
I am proud of being the leading ‘watcher’ of the Senkaku Islands as well as the East China Sea among the members of the Japanese Diet. It seems to me, as a watcher, China’s entering the contiguous zone and intrusion into territorial waters around the Senkaku Islands in recent years are too excessive, compared to four or five years ago. It can be assumed that China’s excessive behavior in these areas has a strategic intent. Therefore, I have repeatedly warned the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be cautious about China’s military strategy. However, we see no improvement in the situation so far.