Tokyo: Japan’s incoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has decided not to station officials on the Senkaku Islands to avoid further aggravating ties with China.
Abe, who won with a landslide in last week’s general election, said during campaigning that the party would consider permanently posting officials on the uninhabited Senkaku Islands to strengthen Japan’s control over the island chain, which is also claimed by China and Taiwan.
According to the Japan Times, despite the flip-flop, however, Abe told reporters that ‘there is no change in the country’s thinking’ about stationing officials on the East China Sea islands.
He said that the bilateral relationship with China is one of Japan’s most crucial diplomatic policies’.
He added that the country wants to make efforts to reset ties and start developing a mutually reciprocal relationship (with Beijing).
Abe pledged to take a tough stance over the dispute, but has been toning down his hawkish rhetoric since winning the Lower House election, the report said.
Chinese vessels have been moving in and out of Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands since the government purchased a major portion of them in mid-September from a private owner, the report added.
Abe is intending to send LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura, head of the Diet Members League for Friendship of Japan and China, as a special envoy to Beijing, given his ties with Chinese officials, according to sources familiar with the matter.