Thursday, September 13, 2012
The Senkakus, Rocks of Contention
The Senkaku chain of islets, claimed by Taiwan (to which they are closest), China, and Japan, have dominated headlines in the country since the Japanese government announced earlier this week that it had purchased three of them from their private owner, one Kurihara, of Saitama Prefecture.
Now, I have been following the Senkaku business for some while, and at no time has the Japanese press (or any other, to my knowledge) explained why islets annexed by the country in 1895 had to be bought from a private owner for 2.2 billion yen.
I checked English-language Wikipedia but learned nothing about that issue, though many others were elucidated.
Then I checked the Japanese-language Wikipedia, and there it was:
To summarize, one Koga, a fisherman from Fukuoka, was given a free 30-year lease of the Senkakus in 1895 for the purpose of developing a fishing industry.
In 1932 his eldest son negotiated to puchase 4 of the islets for 15,000 yen (25 million today) for the purpose of continuing where the father had left off.
In the 70s the descendents sold the islets to Kurihara for 45 million yen.
Smart investment, Kurihara.