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News Analysis: Japan shows short-sighted rashness in island disputes

By Wu Xia (Xinhua)

07:44, July 27, 2012

BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Japan appears to be mired in bitter domestic conflict which has played back upon its foreign policy in a fresh attempt to "nationalize" Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea that actually belong to China.

China's determined stance over Diaoyu Islands will not let Tokyo play on the issue to seek to reverse its waning public support and cater to rising right-wing extremism in the country, foreign policy experts say.

"There is a tendency in Japan that more people are leaning to the right nowadays," said Zhao Gang, a Japan scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Under such circumstances, bringing up sovereignty disputes could gain traction with some voters."

"However, 'buying' the Diaoyu Islands is easier said than done. China has already made it clear that no one will ever be permitted to buy and sell China's sacred territory," Zhao said, referring to a Foreign Ministry statement in early July.

In a most recent twist, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told the upper house of parliament on Tuesday that the central government has started making budgetary plans to formally begin "nationalizing" the Diaoyu Islands

Also on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba told the Japanese House of Representatives that he had confirmed with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the islands fall within the scope of the U.S.-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation of Security, an agreement symbolizing Washington's commitment to necessary security support.

This came months after nationalist Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara first floated his own scheme in April to "purchase" several of the islets from private owners, collecting 1.3 billion yen (16.33 million U.S. dollars) in public donations for the purchase.

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