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The Diaoyu Islands of China Part 2: The interrupted journey home

10-08-2012 10:11 BJT Special Report: Diaoyu Islands: China’s Inherent Territory |

After the Sino-Japanese War of 1895, under the terms of the Treaty of Shimonoseki Japan illegally seized Taiwan Island and the associated Diaoyu Islands, from China.

In 1943, allied powers in the Second World War, issued the Cairo Declaration. It stated that all the territories Japan had stolen from the Chinese, including Manchuria, Formosa, and the Pescadores, should be restored to the Republic of China.

In 1945, brought to her knees by the world’s anti-fascist forces, Japan was facing defeat. On July 26, 1945, with the end of the Second World War approaching, China, the United States and Great Britain issued The Potsdam Declaration, which states:

The terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out and Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such minor islands as we determine.

Matthias Simmich, associate librarian of Cecilienh of Museum, said, “There was no detailed description of all the territories that Japan should restore to China after the war in the Potsdam Declaration, which only mentioned Manchuria and Formosa specifically. But the Declaration did say that Japan must give back to China all the territories it had invaded and occupied in China before World War II, including in the 1930s.”

Article 8 of The Potsdam Declaration clearly states that Japan's power of administration would "include the four main islands of Japan and the adjacent islands, including the Ryukyu Islands north of the 30th parallel north latitude." It clearly determines the southwestern-most boundary of Japanese territory. The Diaoyu Islands lie outside this boundary.

On September 2, 1945, on board the Battleship Missouri, representing China, General Xu Yongchang accepted the surrender of the Japanese army. On behalf of the Japanese emperor and government, foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the instrument of unconditional surrender. But with the ceremony about to end, Mamoru Shigemitsu learned that the Canadian representative had signed in the wrong place on the copy of the surrender document that would be kept by Japan.

Okazaki Kzuo, former Japanese Foreign Ministry Official, said, “I told Mamoru Shigemitsu about the signature and asked whether it was acceptable. He replied that such a document could not be submitted to Japan’s Privy Council. Then I proposed to the American Sutherland that MacArthur and the representatives of the other countries should be required to re-sign the surrender. But he said they were already drinking to celebrate. Recalling them was impossible, and it was up to us to make the correction. Then I said, “Since MacArthur can’t come back, as the senior military officer, can you do it?” He agreed.”

Thus, an American officer took it upon himself to modify the signatures on the surrender document at Japan’s request. This was typical of America’s usually high-handed attitude in dealing with postwar affairs in East Asia, especially where Japan was concerned.

Ruth Benedict, an American scholar, once likened Japan’s paradoxical personality to a “chrysanthemum” and a “sword”. The former symbolizes the imperial house of Japan, and the latteradvocates violence. The sanctification of the two was at the heart of Japan’s militaristic origins. Ruth Benedict’s conception influenced the US policy towards Japan.

For the Japanese, their emperor is the most holy of holies, their visible god. He is also their political ruler. The natural and supernatural, religion and politics, all go into one man’s privilege.
If you are Japanese, you believe the greatest honor among spirits is reserved for those who die in battle, for they become warrior gods and are enshrined in a sacred temple, Yasukuni Shrine. That is the greatest honour that man can achieve in Japan, to die and be enshrined in Yasukuni.

Iwo Jima is a small island in the western Pacific, belonging to the Osumi Islands, a branch of the Ryukyu Islands. In February, 1945, 60,000 US marinersraided20,000 Japanese defenders. The fighting lasted over a month.


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