In 2012, the latent dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands developed into a serious contaminant of Sino-Japan relations. Why did this “Senkaku Conundrum” breakout? Why did then-Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara announce his plan to purchase the islands and why did the Noda Administration decide to nationalize them? Why, months later, is China continuing its radical response to that move? Does there appear to be a correlation between China’s leadership change and the Senkaku issue? Will China resort to military force? If so, what will the Abe administration’s response be? As part of the East-West Center in Washington's Asia Pacific Security Seminar series, Tokyo University professor, Dr. Yasuhiro Matsuda, made an effort to offer some answers to this string of questions surrounding the pressing territorial issue in the East China Sea.
In his talk, entitled: "Power Struggle and Diplomaic Crisis: Past-Present and Prospects of Sino-Japanese Relations Over the Senkaku Conundrum," Dr. Matsuda made an effort to present the dispute from all sides and eras- historically, at present, and into the future. After examining the various domestic pressures acting on the leadership of both Japan and China over the islands, Dr. Matsuda concluded that high tension could continue until both Prime Minister Abe and President Xi Jinping solidify their political positions. While neither side wants war, the price of concession is high for both sides, and the Senkaku/Daioyu issue could continue to simmer with regional reprocussions should it boil-over again.