Tensions continue to rise in the East China Sea as Japan and China face off in a territorial dispute over untapped oil beneath the sea. The Japanese government announced last month that the disputed nearby islands had been nationalized in a purchase from a private Japanese owner. China holds that the islands were stolen by the Japanese in 1895 at the end of the Sino-Japanese war. Your Inputs Monitor reported on the growing ire between the two in September.
China has been sending surveillance vessels into the disputed waters since the first of October. Meanwhile, Japan initiated a major naval exercise on October 20 marking the sixtieth anniversary of Japan's post war navy. Both nations have conducted training maneuvers related to island capture suggesting each may have the same idea.
The tension is also clear in trade relations between the two countries. Because of a consumer boycott of Japanese goods, exports to China have fallen way off in the past few months. September shipments to China fell 14.1 percent in the month of September year-over. That comes on the heels of a 9.9 percent drop in August. Exports of Japanese cars dropped 45 percent -- electrical goods, photographic supplies, motorcycles and even industrial machinery sendouts to China are all well below year-over levels.
The Obama administration has made it clear that, in the event of a confrontation, the United States would stand behind Japan. This is problematic as the alleged rape of a Japanese woman last week by two American sailors fans anti-American sentiment.
As both of these nations struggle to move forward, each feels they have a claim on the resources they need to progress. The problem is, they are both eyeing the same oilfields and the sabre rattling continues to escalate.
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