Japan PM vows to defend islands from China



In this photo released by Japan Coast Guard 11th Regional Headquarters, a Japan Coast Guard patrol boat uses water cannon to warn a Taiwan’s leisure boat, left, and Taiwan Coast Guard boat off Uotsuri in Japanese and Diaoyu Dao in Chinese, the biggest island in the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in East China Sea, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Four Taiwanese activists on the fishing boat attempted to sail to the disputed islands but were turned away by Japan Coast Guard. AP Photo/Japan Coast Guard 11th Regional Hardquarters

TOKYO—Japan’s prime minister vowed Saturday to defend disputed remote islands from threats by China after a series of confrontations that have raised the risk of an armed clash.

“The security environment surrounding our country is increasingly becoming more severe as we face provocation to our territorial rights,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. “I will take the lead to stand up against the present danger and protect the people’s lives and asset, as well as our land, the seas and the air at all costs.”

His comments, made in a speech to Japan’s Self-Defense Forces in the country’s south, apparently referred to China’s growing presence near the disputed islands, called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

The uninhabited islands are controlled by Japan but also claimed by China. Japan’s nationalization of the islands in September triggered violent protests across China, hurting Japanese companies there and the economy.

China has sent surveillance ships regularly to waters near the islands, and aircraft from the two sides have trailed each other, raising the risk of missteps that could trigger a clash.

Japan has recently launched diplomatic efforts to ease tensions, with China-friendly officials visiting Beijing for talks.

Abe’s government last week endorsed a budget bill for this year that included 4.75 trillion yen ($51 billion) in proposed defense spending partly aimed at beefing up Japan’s coastal and marine surveillance around islands also claimed by China and Taiwan. The government also plans to beef up Coast Guard deployment in the area.

Later Saturday, Abe was to visit the regional Coast Guard office on the southern island of Okinawa, which is in charge of patrolling in the waters around the disputed islands, to meet the officers.

During his Okinawa visit, Abe also met with Governor  Hirokazu Nakaima and promised his effort to speed up the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which Japan and the United States had decided to close more than a decade ago.

The base, located in a heavily populated area of Okinawa, is still in operation because a replacement site hasn’t been readied. The Futenma issue is expected to be among the main topics Abe plans to discuss with President Barack Obama during his planned US trip in February.

More than half of the roughly 50,000 US troops stationed throughout Japan are based on Okinawa.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • rayingga

    Much better if china will contest Japan ability to protect its territory., China needs to prove to the whole world that it is not just bluffing and bullying like what she did to small SEA nations.

  • bilango71

    There is some elements  in China who are making trouble with Japan. From what I have read somewhere, these elements do not appreciate the lessons of WW2 when Japan was defeated after its disastrous adventure in Asia.

  • pepito gwaps

    The situation will really end into an armed confrontation because China and Japan cannot make amicable settlement over Senkaku island (japanese name). We cannot expect Japan to bow down from giant China because as we all know the nature of the Japanese whose character portray the way that of a warrior “bushido.” This kind of fighting spirit will still resonate from then once being provoked by the enemies like China and they will chose dignity over anything else. They are well known from their “harakiri” story that they chose to die than to stay alive in times of defeat. Another thing is their “kamikaze”  or  translated as “the divine wind” during WW2 where groups of Japanese pilots were willingly performed suicidal crash attacks upon enemies ships and undeniably Americans suffered heavy blows from these kind of attacks then.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      that was the main reason for the a bombs

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EDXEVEFHW2ZT5VWHDWBNM6XGE4 RyanE

    Good! The Chinese bully has found a worthy opponent!

  • Paranoid Android

    China is betting if the Japanese military will rise the rest of Southeast Asia will embrace her with arms wide open. So, expect China will continue to painfully poke the Japanese to a breaking point.

    For sure Philippines will not embrace China, as if its not already obvious as it is. We’d rather cheer for Tomadachi San. Hai!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2DG3R2AAQZDON2KH45T3YC5DOA del pillar

    Chinese population in the whole world is enormous just like the pinoys; hence, china cannot just start war as there are a lot of their citizens that are spread all over the world,  likewise in the same state of life like other countries, India, Pinas, etc., infrastructure alone will cost them (chinese people) a lot and their numbers and size are no longer a measure of their strength and power!!!!! After all if they engage in  a war it will be the start of WW 111 and probably the end of the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • fliksho

    Go go japan! China is only bluffing.

  • dikoy321

    Go for it Japan, sink the Liaoming so China can’t project their airforce outside !

    Smaller SEA nations will cheer you !

    Banzai Nippon !!!

  • catalansbarce

    The Japanese people made no mistakes in voting Abe as Prime Minister, at the same
    time, the Filipinos made no mistakes in voting Aquino who showed his bravery in
    airing his grievance during the ASEAN summit direct to the Cambodian Prime Minister
    regarding the South China Sea disputes.We need a strong and aggressive leader to defend
    and protect the souvereignty of our country.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/OS3MVCRQH7UV4MJRZURFNIXGBI Cho

    Go go go Japan. Cut the neck before it become the monster. It is not the size that makes them stronger. It is in the heart.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EBQNHJNXQMK4NFGP22BT5UAG4Y Pioneer

    Abe  is  playing  with  one  of  this  time  bomb  which US  has  planted  after  WW2.
    I pity  those  innocent  Japanese.

  • MrRead

    Go for it Japan!  

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos