I can certainly understand why he did it. Must be demoralizing to spend hours chasing a Chinese fishing boat which has rammed two coast guard vessels . . . only to see the Japanese government let the perp walk.
"He was aboard a patrol boat for many years, and I suppose he might have felt righteous indignation about the fact that his colleagues' clash with a Chinese ship at the risk of their lives was hidden from the eyes of the public," a JCG official said.
When two power-driven vessel are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her starboard side shall keep out of the way . . .
Let me remember now . . . port is left, starboard is right. Got it. Pretty commonsensical. If a ship is on your starboard (right) side, you're not supposed to steer LEFT because that might, y'know, cause your ship to RAM into the other one.
No wonder the current Japanese government wanted to keep these under wraps -- for they clearly show that Prime Minister Naoto Kan released guilty men under pressure from the Butchers of Beijing.
Best thing Japan can do now is release ALL the tapes in the interests of transparency. We've got all the money shots now, but for completeness sake the rest need to be made public.
And the worst thing? Attempt to cover it all up by maintaining the current fiction that the tapes are part of "an ongoing judicial investigation" and cannot be released. Because in case Prime Minister Kan hasn't noticed, the case ceased to be a judicial one the day the Chinese took Japanese hostages in order to get Captain Ramboat back.
UPDATE: Good story, bad headline -- Senkaku collisions video leak riles China. (Bad headline because the story itself makes it clear that China doesn't seem too "riled". And of course, the two ramming incidents were more than mere "collisions").
Nonetheless, it seems the Japanese government is blustering about prosecuting those whose only crime was revealing the totality of Kan's surrender on this issue. Idiots.
"Had the Kan government been born with a spine, they would have done [what Adlai Stevenson did at the U.N. during the Cuban missile crisis]. They could have shown the world what the Chinese did, just as the world saw what the Soviets were doing in 1962."
Some other facts the Chinese ultranationalist editors of the Post may be aware of:
China has nuclear weapons. Japan has none.
China has over a thousand missiles targetted onto Taiwan. Japan has none.
China has offensive weaponry. Japan is constitutionally prevented from possessing same.
China maintains the largest number of territorial disputes (somewhere between 19 and 26) in all of Asia.
China has recently laid expansionist claim to the entire South China Sea. Japan has not.
China's military has enjoyed double digit budgetary increases for several years now. While on the other hand, high Japanese vehicle costs mean that Japan's military expenditure in real terms is roughly on par with South Korea or Taiwan.
And finally, China routinely ranks among the 10 worst countries in the entire world when it comes to press freedom. Maintaining strict media censorship, the government indoctrinates the population with ultranationalist propaganda, just as Imperial Japan once did.
(Far more difficult to imagine the Japanese being similarly brainwashed since Japan has the world's 11th freest press.)
So 2,500 Japanese marched in downtown Tokyo in defiance of Chinese bullying over the Senkaku Islands. Big deal. With a population of 128 million, that's a 0.002% turnout.
Reckon more people showed up for the latest "Tentacle Pride" rally . . .
UPDATE (Oct 26/2010): A profile of those Japanese "wildmen" Taiwan's China Post is so afear'd of.
Google went Galt in China earlier this year, and perhaps it's high time that Japan followed its example. Because both the Daily Yomiuri and Asahi Shimbun are reporting that Beijing is erecting politically-motivated customs trade barriers to cripple Japanese industry. From the Daily Yomiuri:
Shanghai customs authorities informed major Japanese transport firms last Tuesday of a decision to immediately boost the ratio of imports and exports subject to sample inspections at the city's customs house from the previous 30 percent to 100 percent.
Shanghai's quarantine authorities have also raised the ratio of quarantine inspections of commodities from the previous 10 percent to 50 percent, they said.
Because of the subsequent delay in the clearance and quarantine procedures, many air cargoes bound for Japan, including electronics parts, remain in Shanghai, according to the sources.
Similar measures have been taken at many other customs houses, including those in Fujian, Guandong and Liaoning Provinces...
"China has no choice but to take the necessary 'coercive measures.' "
And a mere three days later, Japanese prosecutors cut loose Captain Ramboat. A sad spectacle it must have been to watch them claim that their decision was based solely on the law...and then hear them quickly contradict this by declaring that the political importance of smooth Sino-Japanese relations was something they also had to consider.
Japan's Asahi Shimbun newspaper outlines the precise 'coercive measure' which may have been most instrumental in bringing Japan to heel:
A Chinese government source said Thursday that Beijing resorted to the harsh measure of stopping all exports of rare earth metals to Japan because "Japan had crossed over the red line."
The paper further reports that "a sense of shock, fear and helplessness" began to grow in the Japanese industrial sector, as managers discovered to their horror the folly of economic dependence on Asia's Communist behemoth. The Japan Times elaborates on this latter point:
Japan imported 31,383 tons of rare earths in 2008, of which 29,275 tons, or 92 percent [emphasis added], came from China...
92%. [And in another news, a hospital somewhere in Michigan recently granted Dr. Jack Kevorkian control over 92% of their life-support equipment. Because really, what could go wrong?]
The Asashi Shimbun reports that China's unofficial embargo was apparently not as clumsy or as random as a blaster:
The stoppage was designed to hurt Japan's high-tech industries, and it was apparently planned well in advance.
According to several sources, top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party issued instructions in mid-September to the Foreign Ministry, Commerce Ministry, State Development and Reform Commission as well as researchers covering Japan at government-affiliated think tanks to devise specific measures that could be imposed on Japan.
"Instructions were given to consider sanctions that would hit the Japanese economy where it is especially vulnerable," a Chinese government source said [emphasis added].
It's almost superfluous to point out that earlier this year, the Chinese Nationalist Party of Taiwan assured voters that the Communist Party of China would never, ever, EVER mix politics and economics. Signing a free-trade agreement with Zhongnanhai would be an economic shot in the arm for Taiwan -- so the argument went -- and there was absolutely no chance that becoming Beijing's industrial and commercial satellite would imperil Taiwan's democracy or its sovereignty.
Ask the Japanese whether that holds true today. Because the Taiwanese should be aware that the KMT's flimsy hypothesis now utterly without foundation.
The only question which remains is: When will Communist China choose to launch a similar assault on the economy of democratic Taiwan?
"You are an excellent tactician Captain. You let your second in command attack, while you sit and watch for weakness."
-Khan Noonien Singh, ST:TOS
Perhaps that's the only explanation I have for China's relatively mild reaction to the recent incident off the coast of Japan's Senkaku Islands. I mean, think about it: Japan arrests a P.R.C. fishing boat captain for violating Japanese waters, and what does Beijing do?
It blusters, dresses down the Japanese ambassador a few times, cancels a few underwater resource meetings, and sends a SINGLE fishery escort vessel. (For good measure, it also leaves open the possibility that it "may not be able" to control anti-Japanese mob action.)
A relatively measured response, given that it's Communist China we're talking about.
Shortly thereafter though, Taiwan does a curious thing. Remember, absolutely none of its mariners are cooling their heels in Japanese detention. Yet despite this, President Ma Ying-jeou reacts far more militantly than the P.R.C., making the "independent" decision to dispatch not one, but twelve --- 12! --- coast guard ships to the Japanese islands.
Like the man said, the second-in-command plays the heavy.
Story at the Taipei Times. The press in Taiwan is still mum though, on how much the irredentist president's gunboat diplomacy has cost the nation -- not only in precious taxpayer NT dollars, but in squandered international credibility as well.
One need not speculate what world reaction would have been had Ma instead dispatched 12 Taiwanese coast guard vessels into CHINESE waters. So that a "civilian" fishing boat could attempt to raise the Republic of China flag on P.R.C. soil. Because the answer is clear: the world would have regarded it as an outrageously dangerous provocation.
A very REAL provocation, quite unlike any of the phony "provocations" the previous Chen administration was accused of.
UPDATE: Citing irrelevant history, Beijing's mouthpiece newspaper in Taiwan urges Japan to quietly give in to the divinely-ordained territorial encroachments of the KMT-Chinese Communist Party alliance.
Saw THAT comin'...
UPDATE #2: Japan's ambassador to China has reportedly informed the Chinese government that Beijing should "take the necessary measures to avoid a worsening of the situation."
Good for him. I'm rooting for scrappy little Japan the way I used to for Taiwan. (Before the KMT surrendered body-and-soul to the Chinese Communist Empire, that is.)
(Hu Jintao & his "very special" KMT friend. Image from Life Magazine.)
(Taiwanese victim of the Chinese Nationalist Party police-riot of 2008. Image from the Taipei Times)
UPDATE #4: Perhaps I was too hasty in dismissing the relevance of the history the China Post presented. Because the Beijing - Taipei axis certainly seems busy manufacturing "incidents" and pretexts for war in 2010 the very same way Imperial Japan did in the 1930s...
[That last story also mentions that Captain Ramboat's grandmother passed away in China during his incarceration for violating Japanese waters. Which is sure to calm the passions of Chinese jingoists.]
4) Taiwanese KMT legislator fans the flames: "“Without government support on both sides of the Strait, efforts by civilian associations of [Taiwan, China and Hong Kong] alone will not be enough and will be to no avail [for Taiwan to help seize the Senkaku Islands from Japan]."
Er, just what are the odds that that "civilian association" [Hong Kong's "Action Committee for Defending the Diaoyu Islands"] is actually a Chinese Communist Party front group? Leading everybody down the garden path to war?
Taipei County Councilor King Chieh-shou (金介壽) said planning for the protest will be discussed this morning in Jhonghe City [emphasis added] at a forum on the territorial rights of the Diaoyutai Islands. Details regarding boat rental and activities of protest will be fleshed out at the meeting.
Apparently, Taiwan's Chinese ultranationalist "Supreme Leader" isn't the only one who believes that Japan's Senkaku islands belong to China:
A tense maritime incident Tuesday in which two Japanese patrol vessels and a Chinese fishing boat collided near a disputed island chain triggered a diplomatic spat between the Asian giants.
The Chinese boat's bow then hit the Yonakuni's stern and also collided with another Japanese patrol boat, the Mizuki, some 40 minutes later, Kyodo reported citing the coast guard.
All the more reason for America to participate in joint exercises with ally Japan to exert sovereignty over the islands. Because contrary to the assertions made by Taiwan's China Post, Peking's Pekinese Ma Ying-jeou in Taipei simply cannot be counted on if Beijing makes a land-grab.
Last weekend, a report by researchers at the Munk Center of the University of
Toronto revealed "GhostNet," a computer espionage virus that had infected around
1,300 computers worldwide--including many "high value" targets where diplomatic
and national security information was stored . . . Experts disagree on whether the evidence proves China's guilt or merely suggests
it overwhelmingly. [emphasis added]
Nice turn of phrase there. The Chinese government's reaction was certainly telling. Chinese officials COULD have calmly announced that **ahem** freelance hackers must be at fault, and that they'd launch an investigation to find those responsible.
Instead what the world heard was the shoe on the table. LIES, LIES, these are all LIES!Those devious CANADIAN schemers are trying to start a new COLD WAR for their own malicious purposes!
Very . . . Kremlinesque. China launches Cold War-style cyber attacks -- then accuses the VICTIMS of its attacks of trying to start a Cold War.
Gelernter outlines why China's cyberwarfare was so difficult to uncover:
The focused nature of the attack helped it succeed. Businesses and other
organizations that detect viruses are less likely to notice and get hold of a
new virus that attacks a mere thousand computers instead of hundreds of
thousands. Until the target organizations do get hold of the virus, they can't
analyze it and use "signature detection" and related techniques to warn users
when infected cyberstuff arrives on their machines. [emphasis added]
GhostNet reminds us that the new Cold War won't be
fought with the threats and weapons of the old one. Americans might have less
trouble keeping in mind occupied Tibet, the war on Chinese Christianity, the
imprisonment and torture of political dissidents and members of Falun Gong, the
one-child-only decree and other specimens of PRC tyranny if they didn't find
Asian-on-Asian violence so deucedly boring. Instead of paying attention to those
issues, we simper about mutual respect and cooperation--without acknowledging
the fact that China is today the world's most powerful Evil Empire. The Soviets
favored large armies and nuclear arsenals, but China is our new Cold War enemy,
and her favorite weapons will also be novel: financial weapons, trade weapons,
cyberweapons. Welcome to Cold War II. [emphasis added]
Having a spot of computer problems, but've been watching with interest the fallout from last week's sinking of a Taiwanese fishing boat by the Japanese coast guard near the Senkaku Islands. Japan's Kyodo News reports on the racheting-up of tensions:
. . . Meanwhile, the [Taiwanese-owned Kidd-class] warship carrying KMT lawmakers and press is reportedly scheduled to depart for the islets Wednesday. ''This would be for survey maneuvers, so we can definitely send a vessel,'' Defense Minister Chen Chao-min told reporters. Further endangering bilateral ties, a fleet of Taiwanese ships steamed full tilt Monday toward the islets to protest the incident. Accompanied by nine patrol vessels, a Taiwanese fishing boat entered what Tokyo said were its territorial waters in a bid to land on one of the islets. Local TV news footage showed a U.S.-made Taiwanese Cobra attack helicopter escorting the fleet. Japan Coast Guard vessels reportedly blocked the protest boat from the island landing, eventually driving it back by spraying it with water cannons. Taiwanese Premier Liu Chao-shiuan told lawmakers last week that he would not rule out war with Japan over the islets, while the island's Foreign Ministry dissolved the special committee for managing ties with Japan. [emphasis added throughout]
Taiwan's top representative to Japan urged the island's Foreign Ministry on Monday to let him resign over a worsening diplomatic row between Taipei and Tokyo over a ship collision in disputed waters. ''I had pleaded to the Foreign Ministry to replace me before July,'' said Koh Se-kai, Taiwan's de facto ambassador to Japan in the absence of official ties. ''They won't let me step down.''
Hardliners on Japan in Taipei, including ruling Nationalist Party lawmakers, have slammed Koh for ''being too soft'' in his handling of the incident. Koh has broken ranks with the Foreign Ministry to defend Japan's response to the incident, saying Tokyo's expression of regret should satisfy Foreign Minister Francisco Ou's demand for a formal apology. Ou has rejected expressions of regret by Tokyo . . .
Pity poor Koh, the diplomat who still labors under the false notion that it's his job to be, well, diplomatic.
WRONG. It's his job to be the goat. Oh, he can leave -- but only AFTER the KMT conducts their two minute hate session of him.
Er, but I did notice this one howler in the Kyodo News story, however:
Taiwan's response to the incident also appears to have split the leadership among those seeking to ratchet down tensions with Tokyo, mostly DPP lawmakers and other DPP-linked political players, and KMT and ministerial-level officials, who have adopted a hard line toward Japan. [emphasis added]
Taiwan's independence-minded DPP was decimated in the parliamentary and presidential elections earlier this year, reducing them to an impotent opposition party. To call them part of Taiwan's leadership would be a bit of a stretch. Aside from that though, it's a good piece.
Speaking of good pieces, the Taiwan News published a bang-up editorial on the crisis yesterday, which the View from Taiwan comments on. Not much for me to add to either of these, other than to ask what the Ma administration's reaction would have been if a Taiwanese vessel had been sunk in disputed waters by the CHINESE coast guard. Would American warships loaded with truculent KMT legislators be dispatched to the scene? Or flotillas of civilian protest ships accompanied by American attack helicopters? And finally, would the Taiwanese government under President Ma Ying-jeou be placing the option of WAR upon the table?
POSTSCRIPT: A short background to the Senkaku Island dispute from Wikipedia, while a more in-depth background can be found at GlobalSecurity.Org. John J. Tkacik from the Heritage Foundation wrote a piece about the general subject back in 2005 which is still worth a look. (Especially since Beijing offered some ominous moral support to Taiwan last week by denouncing Japan for its treatment of Taiwan, China.)
Recommended reading would also include this document, as well. It concludes on this note:
International law presents many unanswered questions about the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands dispute. Can claims of sovereignty based in fourteenth century Asia be judged by norms developed in Europe centuries later? What is the nature of discovery and occupation for uninhabited islands? What is the critical date when the dispute crystallized? Were the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands part of Taiwan or of Okinawa before 1895? How does one interpret ambiguous treaties?[Because the disposition of the Senkakus was not explicitly mentioned in post-war treaties governing Japan -- The Foreigner]Finally, how will the disputed islands affect maritime jurisdiction. Even if ownership of the islets is settled, can that sovereign claim an EEZ or continental shelf from islands that have never been inhabited and seem to have no economic life. The 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea would appear to say no, but several countries claim extended jurisdiction from such features. [emphasis added throughout]
Gotta love that second sentence. Can claims of sovereignty based in fourteenth century Asia be judged by norms developed in Europe centuries later? It's as though the author anticipated twelve years in advance Joe Hung's argument for why the Senkakus belong to Taiwan:
Taiwan's claim of sovereignty [over the Senkakus] is on a much more solid ground [than the Japanese claim]. The Ryukyus [which include the island of Okinawa -- The Foreigner] was a kingdom, which became a vassal state of China's in 1372. The Emperor Hong-wu of the Ming dynasty proclaimed China's suzerainty over the tiny but prosperous kingdom by sending an imperial commissioner to perform the first investiture of the king.
Funny, but al-Qaeda says pretty much the same thing when it claims Spain in the name of the Master Faith. Al-Andalus IS, WAS, and always WILL be part of the Islamic Caliphate . . .
(Say now, you don't suppose Koreans or Vietnamese get a mite twitchy hearing all this talk justifying Sinofascist land grabs on the basis of a country's former vassal status to China?)
Representative to Japan Koh Se-kai submitted his resignation yesterday after he was accused by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers of being a “traitor” for “siding with the Japanese.”
Meanwhile, KMT caucus whip Lin Yi-shih (林益世) lashed out at Koh for not announcing his resignation at the legislature, saying that he treated his resignation as “child’s play.”
Usually ambassadors quit by placing a letter on someone's desk and are allowed to slink quietly out the back door, but not Koh. Koh must be the first Taiwanese representative in history that is expected to resign in front of a jeering mob.
Lin Yih-shih, Kuomintang whip, demanded Ou not to accept Koh's resignation and make sure that the envoy appear before the legislature for interpellation.
Another Kuomintang lawmaker, Lu Chia-chen, charged Koh was a "straggler." "Premier Liu Chao-schiuan should take disciplinary action at once and have Koh referred for prosecution," he urged.
Treason, straggling, failing to appear before a council of KMT grand inquisitors... capital crimes all. Memo to the next ambassador to Japan: Tear a page from Nikita Khruschev's playbook and learn how to bang your shoe on the table. Your bosses will eat it up.
President Lincoln used to ask a riddle: if you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have? He enjoyed revealing that the answer was four...because CALLING a tail a leg didn't MAKE it one.*
By the same token, the Japanese Foreign Minister decided that calling Taiwan a province of China didn't actually make it one, and said so in public. Said the FM:
"[Taiwan's] democracy is considerably matured and liberal economics is deeply ingrained, so it is a law-abiding country. In various ways it is a country that shares a sense of values with Japan."
Whoa! The KMT and Taiwan's other capitulationist parties aren't going to like hearing THAT. For them, the single country in the world most worthy of praise and emulation is CHINA. In response to the Japanese minister, we might soon hear some more Japan-bashing from KMT head Hizoner Ma Ying-jeou. Perhaps something similar to his previously stated desire for a "battle to force a settlement" with Japan over the disposition of the Senkakus Islands.
Shortly after the Japanese Foreign Minister's statement, China engaged in a little flipfloppery. It was not so long ago - barely a week, in fact - when they called upon the United Nations to spank Taiwan for abolishing the National Unification Council. Interfere in our internal affairs all you like, they told the UN at the time.**
But when the Chinese Foreign Minister heard that his Japanese counterpart had called Taiwan a "country", he got all prickly, angrily responding, "We are strongly protesting against this rude intervention in China's internal affairs."
Aw, c'mon guys. You're either in favor of foreign interference in your "internal affairs" or you're against it. What's it gonna be?
Interestingly, The China Post had a few more statements from the Japanese FM illustrating the growing resentment the Japanese feel due to China's bullying:
[The minister likened] Japan to a rich but physically weak child who is picked on at school.
"What do you do so you don't get bullied? There is no other way than to run away or fight," Aso told supporters last weekend in the central city of Kanazawa, the magazine said.
"You may be able to graduate from school in three years. But when it comes to countries, neighbors will be neighbors forever," it quoted him as saying.
Perhaps then, calling Taiwan a country is a demonstration of Japan's increasing unwillingness to play the 98 pound weakling in the schoolyard. I can't help but think that Japan was once a Great Power, and that if it wanted to, it could be again. It may be most unwise to push around the Japanese.
* Of course, the children's story, "The Emperor's New Clothes" makes essentially the same point that the truth is the truth.
There is however, a countervailing Chinese story that states the truth is whatever the powerful happen to say it is. In this story, a Chinese emperor sees a mule, calls it a horse in front of his court, and then asks the courtiers what kind of an animal they think it is. Those who answer truthfully are beheaded on the spot for having the effrontery to publicly disagree with the emperor.
(Similarly, Winston Smith in 1984 is told that the Party has new answers for simple arithmetic questions, and is tortured when he gives the "wrong" answers. After sufficient "re-education", he accepts that the Party is always right about such things.)
** Someone at the National Review or the Weekly Standard asked a question relating to China's request to the UN to upbraid Taiwan "province" for abolishing the NUC. When was the last time, the writer asked, when President Bush went to the UN to call for help in dealing with a troublesome American state governor?
Former Taiwanese President Lee Dung-hway, a practicing Christian, has previously compared the Taiwanese situation to that of the Jews during Exodus. For those who are not familiar with the analogy, an Oct 23rd China Post write-up elaborates on the theme:
Comparing the present situation in Taiwan to the 40-year exile of the Israeli people following their exodus from Egypt, as recorded in the Bible, Lee said a number of people in Taiwan are disoriented and are thinking about going back to slavery in China, just like the Israeli people back then.
While it took 40 years for the Israeli people to reach their promised land, Taiwan cannot wait another 40 years, Lee said.
Having been ruled by foreign powers for more than 300 years, Taiwan must stand firm to its belief that "Taiwan is Taiwan, not a part of China" in order to secure its autonomy, he asserted.
(On the topic of certain Taiwanese tempted to yield to slavery, I shall write another time.)
Lee's speech was delivered in LA during his current trip to America. In the speech, he also labeled China a 'slave state', urged the free world not to invest in China, and called for a strategic alliance between America and Asian democracies India, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea.
Ya gotta love that guy. The Butchers of Beijing must be apoplectic.
Give 'em hell, Lee!
Sino-Japanese off-shore petroleum field dispute
The Chinese and the Japanese have been arguing for some time over sea territory between Shanghai and Okinawa. The territory is said to have 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and possibly 100 billion barrels of oil.
It seems that the Chinese may have begun extraction from the disputed territory from a rig which was built in their own seas. To mark the occasion, they paraded 5 warships in the area. The whole situation is a little akin to that preceeding the First Gulf War, when Iraq accused Kuwait of horizontal drilling into Iraqi oil fields.
Japan is, of course, understandably unhappy about this. They've announced that they'll soon begin drilling in the disputed zone. In response, China said that doing so would be considered "an invasion" of Chinese territory.
Watch for more of this, as China "peacefully" rises.