There have been increasingly frequent sightings of Chinese vessels – fishing, public and naval – in the Okinawa Prefecture seas around the Senkaku Islands, Japan. Our journalists visited Ishigaki Island of Okinawa to investigate and speculate what might happen to Japan in the near future.
A sturdy fence stands in the scorching August sun, separating the civilian town from an asphalt jetty where a number of patrol vessels are anchored.
Since 2012, around 500 officers have enlisted in the Ishigaki Naval Security department in Ishigaki Island, Okinawa, and this spring, they added a further 10 patrol vessels to their register. With its 689 staff members and 16 vessels, it is the largest security department in Japan.
This is a full-time operation plan to protect the Senkaku Islands from the advancing Chinese vessels. “In this sea area, a simple mistake can lead to a diplomatic problem,” said manager Kazumi Miyazaki, who kindly took time from his busy schedule to accepted an interview. “The staff is doing their job the best they can under high-strung daily circumstances. We want to keep protecting the security of this sea area because we have pride in our roles as coastal guards.”
China Is Conducting Military Drills
In early August of this year, 15 public vessels and between 200 and 300 fishing vessels belonging to the China Coast Guard trespassed into Senkaku’s contiguous zone. The China Coast Guard is connected to the People’s Liberation Army, which gives orders to naval militiamen disguised as fishermen numbering approximately 300,000.
Former general of the JGSDF Western Army (the defense army for Kyushu and Okinawa), Kazuhito Mochida, warned that “some Chinese fishing vessels can carry up to 30 people, and with 200 or 300 of them, they can fit enough men for one military division. They are clearly conducting military drills under the pretext of ‘fishing’. It is important for us to strengthen coastal guarding, but coast guards are simply ‘sea police’. We have to also prepare for situations that police authority is insufficient to deal with.”
An Emergency Could Happen Any Day Now
The Chinese government has continually and publically claimed territorial sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. It is only a matter of time before they take it by force.
It is planned that the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force will deploy around 600 servicemen and women at Ishigaki Island by 2019. The following is a comment by a civilian supporter of the Defense Force, President Iwao Miki of the Yaeyama Defense Association:
“Some people on the island are afraid that if we station the Defense Force here, it will become a likely target. But by military practice, weaker places are a better target.
Looking at the Senkaku situation and the power imbalance, we should not lose any time in deploying the Dense Force at Ishigaki Island.
The level of the army is the level of its people. We can only protect our country if the people have a strong will to do so.”
Is Senkaku’s D-Day Approaching?
The Liberty Magazine has long been warning of the high possibility of China’s invasion and control over the Senkaku Islands. China, however, continues to frequently send vessels to trespass into Japan’s sea area and exclusive economic zone as if to claim that the area belongs to them.
The appearance of 300 Chinese fishing vessels is clearly a precursor to Senkaku’s doomsday if China finally decides to land there.
Will the Japanese government be able to remove naval militiamen if they land on Uotsuri Island of the Senkaku Islands disguised as fishermen? The UN would not budge, as China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The U.S. has enough to deal with regarding their economic problems, and will be slow to react. This likelihood of any U.S. aid is made even bleaker unless Japan makes some sort of counteraction first.
Mochida commented: “large Chinese cruise ships often stop at the islands of Okinawa. What will happen if a secret agent is on one of them, and initiates terrorist attacks like those we saw in Paris and Brussels? Will the ground police be able to deal with such an issue? We must be prepared for these catastrophes.”
A Spine-chilling Story
Armed naval militia breaks into the Okinawa prefectural office and informs the governor that they plan to take control of Okinawa, demanding that he declare ‘Okinawan independence’ as the first step.
Does this idea have any reality to it?
Simply put, “Yes”.
Back in 2014 when Takeshi Onaga, current governor of Okinawa prefecture, was the mayor of Naha city, he was connected with a political organization that was pushing for the independence of the Ryukyu Islands. In autumn of this year, Onaga gave a speech on the ‘self-determination of the peoples’ at the UN Human Rights Council, indirectly promoting Okinawa’s independence from Japan.
Now to the spine-chilling story: one naval security officer stationed in Okinawa’s main island recalls an unforgettable experience.
“A few years ago, when I went out drinking with my colleagues, a Chinese barmaid suddenly started crying. ‘Don’t the Ryukyu people want to be released from Japanese sovereignty?’ she cried. ‘Don’t they want China to rescue them? The people at Peking University told me so! Tell me the truth!’
When we began to realize what this was all about, we felt a chill pass down our spines. China had not only an anti-Japan educational curriculum, they were also teaching them a false truth that ‘Ryukyu wants freedom’.”
In late July, around 500 people from outside the island gathered at a conference held in Ishigaki Island presided by former pro-democracy Taiwanese President, Lee Teng-hui.
At age 93, Lee addressed his audience in a 30-minute speech in fluent and compelling Japanese. Being mindful of the Japanese government and his conference organizers he refrained from discussing the China problem, but finished his speech with an emotional pronouncement:
“I want to emphasize that Taiwan and Japan are bound by common fate. We absolutely must develop our cooperative relation one step further!”
After the conference, head of the Happiness Realization Party, Ryoko Shaku handed him a copy of the party’s ‘Taiwan Policy” that states that the party regards Taiwan as a country, and aims to restore diplomatic ties.
“We think that Taiwan and Japan should deepen relations to contribute to the progress of Asia,” she told him.
A Japan-Taiwan Plan to Confront China
The annexation of Taiwan is China’s national ambition. While Taiwan and Japan are under this threat, they are much too reliant on U.S. military power.
The U.S. on the other hand, has recently been focusing on their domestic economic problems, and is becoming increasingly isolationist. On this point, Mochida gave the following remark:
“The U.S. developed the ‘Carrier Killer’ DF12D ballistic missile. They are fearful of the lives of thousands of naval crewmembers. This is all the more reason why they will not send their carriers to the front line in a Japan or Taiwan emergency, but will keep a distance and fire long-range. Japan and Taiwan will have to fight on their own for 4 to 6 weeks.”
Japan’s rulers are responsible for the lives of 130,000,000 countrymen, and they have to come up with a national security policy to deal with this situation before time runs out.
Master Ryuho Okawa, founder of Happy Science, conducted an open talk with his third son, Yuta Okawa, on the 16th of August. They spoke on how public opinion has been unresponsive to Happy Science’s warnings about the U.S. Army issue in Senkaku and Okinawa, and supported nuclear energy in the debate:
“It is clear as daylight that crisis is approaching . . . our country is currently in a very dangerous position.”
The Okinawan island where they plan to deploy defense corps, Ishigaki Island, is in a pivotal position within the Sakishima archipelago. Japan can protect the people of those islands and the air and waters around Taiwan, by deploying defense forces and surface-to-ship/surface-to-air missiles at Ishigaki.
We can strengthen counterforces through cooperatively linking Aegis-class ships, submarines and Naval Security patrol vessels.
In this sense, former President Lee’s visit to Ishigaki can be seen as an excellent opportunity for Japan and Taiwan to connect, and protect peace in East Asia.
Ishigaki, the small island on the border of Japan, is playing a big part in the security of the country and of East Asia.
On the 31st of July, former Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui held a conference in Ishigaki city.
Happiness Realization Party (HRP) Taiwan Policy that Shaku handed to Lee:
- Japan will support Taiwan in becoming a member of the TPP
- Japan will recognize Taiwan as a ‘country’ and will aim to restore diplomatic ties
- Japan will support Taiwan’s return as a member of the United Nations
HRP Kinjo presented a letter of protest to Okinawa governor, Takeshi Onaga.
The HRP has consistently and continuously been promoting the importance of protecting the Senkaku Islands against China. Tatsuro Kinjo, of HRP Okinawa, personally handed a letter of protest to the governor on the 9th of August, a day after Chinese vessels trespassed into Senkaku territory. The letter stated “Here is a blatant contradiction: Okinawa prefecture is going as far as to visit the U.S. in order to protest against U.S. Army residency in Okinawa, but have yet to protest directly against the Chinese government for invasion.”