Japan, US Abandon Provocative Drill to 'Retake' Isle
October 23, 2012 NHK World News & The Japan Times
Japan and the US have decided to cancel a joint drill in which their forces would "recapture" a remote island in Okinawa Prefecture. Tokyo and Washington were considering holding the drill on uninhabited Irisuna Island as part of joint military exercises slated for November. It was decided, however, that the drill would worsen the backlash from Beijing, which has reacted harshly to Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan.
Joint Exercise Called Off
Due to Fear of Backlash from China The Japan Times
(October 21, 2012) -- Japan and the US have decided to cancel a joint drill in which their forces would "recapture" a remote island in Okinawa Prefecture, according to informed sources. Tokyo and Washington were considering holding the drill on uninhabited Irisuna Island as part of joint military exercises slated for November.
The drill, however, would worsen the backlash from Beijing, which has reacted harshly to Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, which are also claimed by China and Taiwan. A government source said the decision to skip the Irisuna recapturing drill "reflects the opinion of the prime minister's office."
Another reason was opposition from residents on Okinawa Island, about 60 km away, where sentiment against US bases has flared up following allegations that a Japanese woman was raped by US sailors Tuesday. In light of these factors, the Defense Ministry found it difficult to proceed with the exercise, although it is considering substitute drills, the sources said.
Taiwan Adopts Resolution Jiji News
TAIPEI (October 21, 2012) -- Taiwan's Parliament has adopted a resolution to declare ownership of the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China sea. Taipei began claiming sovereignty over the islands, which it refers to as Diaoyutai, in the early 1970s, but this is the first time the legislative body has adopted a formal resolution related to them.
The opposition People's First Party proposed the resolution Friday with support from by the ruling Nationalist Party and Taiwan's biggest opposition group, the Democratic Progressive party. The Taiwan Solidarity Union, an opposition party close to former President Lee Teng-hui, voted against the resolution.
Japan, Russia Back Talks Kyodo News Service
(October 21, 2012) -- Tokyo and Moscow have confirmed plans to conduct substantive talks soon toward a resolution of the long-standing sovereignty dispute over four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, Japanese officials said.
At a working-level meeting Friday in Tokyo, the two countries agreed to strengthen bilateral dialogue in a bid to expand security and defense cooperation amid the rapidly changing security environment in the Asia-Pacific region.
As part of these efforts, the secretary of Russia's Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev, an aide to President Vladimir Putin, is scheduled to meet Tuesday with Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba in Tokyo, the officials said.
Friday's meeting was effectively the first working-level talks since Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and Putin agreed in June to reactivate long-dormant negotiations over the sovereignty of the Russian-held islands, which were seized from Japan by Soviet forces at the end of World War II.
In the meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Akitaka Saiki and his Russian counterpart, Igor Morgulov, who is also in charge of Asian affairs, made arrangements toward an envisioned summit in December, with Tokyo looking to revive talks and get the islands back.
The two sides converged on the importance of the 2001 Irkutsk Statement, which confirmed the validity of a 1956 joint declaration between Japan and the Soviet Union. In the declaration, the Soviets agreed to return two of the four islands to Japan.
They discussed the possibility of crafting an agreement to be concluded at the upcoming summit that would refer to the territorial dispute, but did not reach a conclusion, the officials said.
Japanese officials are pinning their hopes on Patrushev's first meeting with Genba as they seek to resolve the issue by communicating with Putin via his aide.
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