Tuesday, February 10, 2009

U.S.-Japan Security Treaty Applies to Senkaku Inlands

I’ve begun going through Wikileak and this CRS report caught my eye. The report makes a strong, unequivocal case that “while maintaining neutrality on the competing claims, the United States agreed in the Okinawa Reversion Treaty to apply the [U.S.-Japan] Security Treaty to the treaty area, including the Senkaku (Diaoyu) islands.” The unstated flip side of the coin is that neither Takeshima (Dokto to some of you) nor the Northern Territories are covered.


Added Entry said...

Very interesting -- and what better source than Congress' own Congressional Research Service across the street at the Library of Congress. It's dated 1996 but it's all still the same treaty.

Jun Okumura said...

The U.S.-Japan Security Treaty basically supports the status quo, nothing more, nothing less, which I guess is what “security” is all about. Of course in those days, the only things that mattered were the piles of rock and the surrounding territorial waters. Today, we have the EEZ and continental shelf to worry each other over, so the days when South Korean negtiators could half-joke with their Japanese counterparts about blowing up Dokto-Takeshima to be rid of the problem once and for all are long gone.

Anonymous said...

Walter Mondale had denied this in '96 during the crisis when activists from Hong Kong tried to land on the island.
I remember Ishihara Shintaro roared and demanded the explanation..,,

Richard Armitage had confirmed the treaty will be applied to the islands during Bush years.

Jun Okumura said...

If true, anonymous, Mondale’s statement would have had a deeply destabilizing effect on the status quo. However, the available online MOFA pres records don’t go there, so it could be an urban legend. A raging Ishihara rings true but is not the most reliable hearsay witness. I’ll believe it when I see the evidence.

If you’re really curious and you’re in New York, try Ed Lincoln

Anonymous said...

OK,the above anonymous post is from me.

Here's the "evidence".
NYT Sept 15.1996 By Nicholas D.Kristof

"Some Japanese officials say the United States would be obliged to use its military force to protect the Japanese claims to the islands, because of the Japan-American security treaty. But Ambassador Walter F. Mondale has noted that the United States takes no position on who owns the islands and has said American forces would not be compelled by the treaty to intervene in a dispute over them. "

Ishihara's take on the issue is here.
Sankei column"日本よ”


Jun Okumura said...

Thanks, Aceface. I never thought that I’d be agreeing with Shintaro Ishihara on an international issue, but there you are. It’s one thing to harbor such half-baked thoughts so deeply destabilizing to the status quo; totally another for a U.S. ambassador to mention them to a reporter. It’s hard to think of any reason to resort to such mischief except in the context of Ishihara’s allegations. Reminds you of the harm politicians-turned lobbyists can do to the national interest. And I mean the U.S. interest.

Incidentally, the NYT link is broken; go to