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Japan may take more conciliatory approach toward China in islet row

ROC Central News Agency

2012/10/10 14:23:13

Tokyo, Oct. 10 (CNA) The Japanese government is considering adopting a more conciliatory attitude toward China in the two countries' territorial dispute over the Diaoyutai Islands, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday.

Japan has repeatedly insisted that it has sovereignty over the Diaoyutais, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, and that disputes over the islets do not exist, but that may change.

Citing unidentified Japanese officials, a Kyodo report said the Japanese government, while upholding its sovereignty claim, is now planning to acknowledge that China is also claiming the island chain in the East China Sea.

The report further said that the Japanese government will decide how to be more accommodating to China's claim after getting a better understanding of Beijing's attitude toward such a proposal.

Located some 100 nautical miles northeast of Taiwan, the Diaoyutai Islands, known as the Diaoyu Islands in China, have been under Japan's control since 1972, but are also claimed by Taiwan and China.

The long-simmering dispute came to a head last month after Japan nationalized the island cluster by buying three islets from their private owners on Sept. 11 in an attempt to reinforce its sovereignty claim.

The move sparked widespread protests in China that hurt Japanese businesses.

Recent research reports by major financial institutions have warned that continued squabbling between Japan and China could take a toll on Japan's economy, especially its automobile industry, perhaps prompting Japan's rethinking of its approach on the Diaoyutais.

A JPMorgan Securities Japan Co. research note issued Oct. 6 said Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) in the fourth quarter may shrink 0.8 percent from the previous quarter amid the Diaoyutai row.

China has also shown its dismay over Japan's move to nationalize the island by limiting bilateral exchanges.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirmed that Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China, will not attend an IMF plenary meeting scheduled for Friday in Tokyo.

Zhou will be represented by his deputy Yi Gang, an IMF spokesman said.

Japan has already adopted a more conciliatory tone with Taiwan in their bilateral dispute over the uninhabited island cluster.

In a show of good will, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba issued a statement Oct. 5 calling for calm in dealing with "pending issues" in relations between the two countries and expressing the willingness to resume fishery talks with Taiwan after a three-and-half-year hiatus.

Gemba also said in his statement released by Japan's Interchange Association that Tokyo and Taipei should not allow "isolated problems" (referring to the Diaoyutai spat) to affect bilateral ties and should instead make efforts to communicate and deal with problems rationally.

(By Tsao Heng and Sofia Wu)

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