Japan has had a long history of fights with its neighbors like China, South Korea, and Russia over islands. Unlike India’s island dispute with Bangladesh, it seems global warming won’t have the disputed islands submerged under water to solve the problem.
Japan has repeatedly collided with its rival South Korea over an island that is known as Dokdo to Koreans and Takeshima to the Japanese, or simply the Liancourt Rocks to those who are neutral in the issue further enflaming political tensions with its peninsular neighbor. Relationship between these two remain to be mainly made up of suspicion and exaggerated caution.
Japan has also disputed over northern islands against Russian claims to it which has made diplomatic relationships rocky. The arguements made it possible that a formal treaty between Russia and Japan to end World War II hostilities has never surfaced.
The Japanese government had even bitterly argued over islands that is claimed by the Chinese in the East China Sea. On Tuesday, Japan received a huge shock when a Chinese naval fleet of ten submarines, frigates, and destroyers blatantly passed by the Japanese island of Okinawa in international waters.
The Japanese defence minister Toshimi Kitazawa stated that an investigation will be made into this military movement so the government can ‘correctly respond’. Many believe that the Chinese are giving warning signs of Japan’s claims to the disputed islands and that the Chinese are showing off their modern naval power.
Many in Japan are worried about the new naval capabilities to which the Chinese now have access to and fear that actual confrontations may occur in the disputed areas of water if tensions continue to escalate between the Japanese and Chinese navies.
On the same day (Tuesday, April 13, 2010) Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev and Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met at the nuclear summit in Washington D.C after Hatoyama repeatedly tried to make contact with Medvedev.
The two met to try to resolve their island disputes but it is of course proving to be difficult due to the history mentioned above and the Japanese refusal to comply with Russian offers of giving two of the four disputed islands back.