• Directory of Taiwan

Japan foreign minister protests against Ma’s atoll claim

Japan foreign minister protests against Ma’s atoll claim

Japan protests against Ma’s atoll claim

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday said the statement made by Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday that Okinotori is an atoll, not an island is unacceptable.

Japan has asked its representative office in Taiwan, Interchange Association (JAPAN), to express its protest, Kishida said.

The status of Okinotori as island is assured according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and therefore the island is entitled to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), said Kishida at a regular press conference on Thursday.

Japan’s major media outlets such as the Asahi Shimbun and the Mainichi reported on Thursday that the Japanese government had lodged its protest against Taiwan’s claim that Okinotori is an atoll through the IAJ.

The Asahi Shimbun reported on April 25 that the skipper of a Taiwanese boat suspected of fishing in Okinotori waters had been arrested by the Japan Coast Guard, which had led to protest by Taiwanese fishers.

On Thursday Ma called a national security meeting and said at the meeting that Okinotori should not be entered as “Okinotori Island” in official documents, but instead as “Okinotori atoll.”

After the Japan–PRC Joint Communiqué in 1972, Japan ceased official relations with Taiwan, but has since maintained non-governmental, working-level relations with Taiwan.