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The confirmation of the maps that show the Senkaku Islands as Japan’s territory made the front-page headline of the Sankei Shimbun on December 16, 2020. The headline reads that the Japanese government considers to publicize the maps to rebut China’s strong assertion that the Islands belong to its sovereignty.

投稿日:2020年12月16日 更新日:

I was surprised at the above-mentioned front-page headline. With regard to the territorial issue on the Senkaku Islands, the Japanese government has been asserting that the Senkaku Islands have belonged to the territory of Japan. Even before the Islands were officially annexed to Okinawa Prefecture by the Meiji government in January 1895 (Meiji 28), the Meiji government confirmed the fact that any countries including the Qing Empire had not occupied the Islands based on its ten-year survey. Meanwhile, the Chinese government strongly asserts that the Senkaku Islands as well as Taiwan were ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki as the Treaty of Peace after the end of the Sino-Japan War in April 1895, and China claims that the Senkaku Islands as well as Taiwan were returned to China when the Second World War ended in 1945. (Regarding China’s assertion, what I wrote in my Japanese blog dated December 16, 2020, was ambiguous, therefore I rewrote it as above in this English version. Please note that the description here surpasses the one in Japanese.)

According to the contents of the front-page headline mentioned above, the two maps are the London Atlas, published in 1887 by Stanfords, the UK’s leading retail supplier of maps, and Adolf Stieler’s Hand-Atlas published in Germany in 1875. Both maps clearly show that the Islands belong to Japan’s territory by indicating a border line between Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands. It implies that European countries had already acknowledged the Senkaku Islands as Japan’s own territory before the Meiji government officially announced Japan’s sovereignty over the Islands in January 1895. The Japanese government has accredited these two maps for its public use. Those two maps are very important politically, diplomatically and internationally, and worthy of praise academically.

These two old maps were obtained by Mr. Wataru Takada, my secretary. Accordingly, our names and a brief explanation of how he obtained the maps are mentioned in the Sankei Shimbun article. This event reminded me of the moment in February 2015 when I found a map of the Senkaku Islands published in 1969 by the Chinese government. The map clearly showed that the Senkaku Islands belong to Japan’s territory, and furthermore, it was endorsed by the late Chairman Mao Tse-Tung of the Chinese Communist Party. My finding of the map dominated the minds of the people concerned with Japan’s strategy to rebut China’s assertion that the Senkaku Islands belong to its sovereignty. The finding of another two maps which verify the fact that the islands belong to Japan’s territory make me believe that I am entrusted with the greatest mission to resolve the territorial issue of the Senkaku Islands.

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