Saturday, July 25, 2015

• Creeping Expansionism Japan Releases Photos of Chinese Rigs in East China Sea by Isabel Reynolds and Maiko Takahashi

Japan’s foreign ministry unveiled a map and photographs of 16 Chinese marine platforms close to Japan’s side of the disputed East China Sea. The platforms are on the Chinese side of a geographical median line that should mark the border between their exclusive economic zones.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday unveiled a map and photographs of some of 16 Chinese marine platforms close to the geographical median line in the sea between the two countries.

Japan has long expressed concern that such developments could siphon gas out of undersea structures that extend to its own side.
“It is extremely regrettable that China should conduct unilateral development of resources,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. 
Suga said that 12 new structures had been confirmed in the area since June 2013 and that Japan decided to release the images because of increased interest, both domestically and overseas.
Relations between Asia’s two largest economies are thawing, even as they are locked in a dispute over ownership of a group of uninhabited islands. 
The disclosure comes days after the passage of security bills to extend the role of Japan’s military to allow it to defend other countries.
Jeff Kingston, professor of Asian Studies at Temple University’s Japan campus in Tokyo, said Abe is using the images to persuade voters that the security legislation is necessary.
“"They’re very concerned that the public has not warmed to his idea,” Kingston said.
“What they’re trying to do is generate public anxiety so that people will suddenly discover that we do need to adopt this legislation.”

2008 Agreement
Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged China in a statement to return to talks about a 2008 agreement on joint development of resources in one area around the median line.
Details about the platforms and Japan’s complaints to China about them were included in a last-minute addendum to the Defense Ministry’s annual white paper, which was approved by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet Tuesday.