China-Japan Islands Dispute : Key factor – Shintaro Ishihara

This Australian newspaper report on the East China Sea Islands dispute between China and Japan is typical of the tendency in western mass media, particularly those close to  the global elite of the ‘Anglo-sfear’,  – which is most of them -  to portray Japan as the victim of Chinese ‘bullying’ .

The Australian is a paper  in the Rupert Murdoch camp. Note that it says

Tensions have steadily mounted since pro-Beijing activists were arrested and deported after landing on one of the islands in August. Japanese nationalists then followed, raising their flag on the same island days later.
This implies China started the process. No, tensions have mounted since September 2010. (See but note that the article fails to mention the crucial role of Ishihara in 2012 developments) At that time the Chinese captain of a fishing vessel sailed too close to the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, was warned off by the Japanese coastguard and then rammed one of the Japanese ships in anger. He was probably just angered by their presence or what he saw as their harrassment; there’s no evience as far as I’m aware to suggest that his fishing boat was a cover for Chinese intelligence agencies /navy etc. He was arrested by the Japanese and later returned to China; nothing surfaced to say his boat was a ‘spy ship’. So his  action probably resulted from an “accident”. That incident caused an unusual upsurge of demos in Japan against China.  These were clearly organised by rightwing forces in Japan. They were followed by some Japanese nationalists who went fishing near the islands in July 2011.
THAT was followed by an attempt by Hong Kong Chinese nationalists to sail to the island in January. That was blocked by the HK authorities.
The main tension-inducing event began on 23 March when Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara announced he’d be going to the USA and then on 17 April at a lecture at the American rightwing Heritage Foundation announced his sensational intention to buy the islands for Tokyo. That immediately got the Chinese riled. He proceeded with his plans, which became big news in Japan for several months. He even put a large ad in the Wall Street Journal on behalf of Tokyo government urging people to support his proposal and donate to his fund for the purchase!
Then on 15 August 2012 – the day of Japan’s surrender in 1945 – the  same Hong Kong Chinese nationalists again attempted to land on the island. A few days later, Japanese nationalists (likely linked to Ishihara) actually DID land on the island, but were soon pressured to leave by the Japanese Coastguard. Through August angry demonstarations occurred in China which have only increased since. Then came the Japanese government’s purchase of the islands in early September 2012 from their Japanese owner in order to forestall Ishihara (they claimed), and the Chinese response to that, the sending of the 6 marine surveillance vessels.
If the Chinese were suddenly to drop parachutists on the island by night or land with helicopters etc., the Japanese would really be in a difficult situation. It’s possible but unlikely that the Chinese will make a naval move with real warships as the Japanese navy at present is much stronger, but if the Chinese put soldiers on the islands via an airdop, claiming it’s THEIR territory, then the Japanese would have a real problem. If the Chinese do this – and it would certainly be very effective, as I’m sure the Japanese government would not want to risk war for these nonentities unless the US were behind them, prodding them in the direction of a showdown -  it will signify that China means seriously belligerent business and we will be in a very dangerous situation. It will mean however, that China will have fallen into a US/Japanese trap, because it will be a propaganda coup for Japan and the Anglos-fear, who will say: “See! The Chinese are robbers and imperialist bullies, a danger to international law etc” and we all know where that leads (Iraq, Libya, Syria….)  If China does not land troops and tries instead to negotiate its way through this mess, then we will see that China is indeed a pacific power, as it has always claimed to be. The temptation to use force will be very great, as the “Big Change” in the Chinese leadership is coming up this autumn, and the Chinese elite would be tempted to think that force against Japan would be an easy way to unite the people behind the new leadership.
The point is that the Japanese government chose to buy the islands, knowing that would make the Chinese mad, rather than move to slap Ishihara down as a troublemaker and warmonger, which he is. That suggests to me that the Japanese Cabinet is afraid to move against Ishihara; in other words, he’s likely being backed by some “higher authority”. Or else the Japanese government fear to move against Ishihara because they sense he has too much popular support. Then we come back to the point that Ishihara chose to make his announcement in the US and not in Japan. On 23 March 2012 he already said at his Governor’s Press conference in Tokyo that he was going to the US to “stir things up” (i.e. “ruffle some feathers”) but did not say HOW. This is why I can’t help concluding that he’s working in tandem with US forces on this issue and I suspect the Japanese government may be too. They are allowing him his head; they let him lead the pace and, in effect, got him to push them into involving the Japanese State, which potentially and necessarily involves the US-Japan Security Treaty – unless the US government were to make clear to Japan that it would under no circumstances go to war for the sake of the Senkaku Islands!
One more thing. During the summer, the Japanese ambassdor to China wa sacked because he said things construed as too critical of a strong stance against China and that the islands issue threatened to damage Japan-China relations. The man chosen as his replacement by the Foreign Ministry then died of an alleged heart attack even before he could replace him. The police announced “no foul play” but who knows? Could it be that he too was seen by certain forces on the far right as too soft on China? I find it hard to believe that  Prime Minister Noda was not involved in the choice of replacement for such an important post.