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  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 7:16pm

Diaoyu Islands

The Diaoyu Islands are a group of uninhabited islands located roughly due east of mainland China, northeast of Taiwan, west of Okinawa Island, and north of the southwestern end of the Ryukyu Islands. They are currently controlled by Japan, which calls them Senkaku Islands. Both China and Taiwan claim sovereignty over the islands. 

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DIAOYU DISPUTE

Japan’s armed forces prepare for handling prisoners of war in potential conflict: report

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 12:07pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 5:04pm
 

The Japanese Self-Defence Forces (SDF) are preparing for the possibility of holding prisoners of war amid simmering tensions with China in a territorial dispute in the East China Sea.

Japan’s Ministry of Defence has asked the nation’s land, air and navy forces to prepare for the incarceration - or the joint retrieval, housing and putting to work - of prisoners of war, according to a report in Friday’s Yomiuri Shimbun, a leading Japanese newspaper, citing unidentified sources.

The article said preparations were directed at a possible confrontation in "Japan’s southwestern region, where many islands are spread over a considerable distance". There, the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan, are claimed both by China and Japan. Such prisoners would be Japan’s first POWs since the second world war. 

This comes amid a deepening rift between the two governments over the territorial dispute. In the latest of several recent confrontations, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga denied a Chinese claim last week that Japanese aircraft came dangerously close to a Chinese air patrol near the island chain.

Japan warned in its annual white paper on defence last year that such brushes could lead to an unexpected “contingency”.

The report on Friday indicated that its armed forces are taking further steps in preparation for such an event. “It is conceivable that the SDF might capture enemy fighters on a remote island or at sea,” the Yomiuri Shimbun article read, referring to the country’s armed forces. “The three SDF branches would need to co-ordinate a joint operation to transport these prisoners of war to a safe location.”

Plans began in spring, according to the report and will culminate in the simulated capturing, transporting and housing of prisoners of war in a military exercise within this fiscal year, which ends in March 2015.

“The ministry is examining the pros and cons of using civilian buildings as housing facilities and making use of outsourced security services, as well as examining acceptable labour programmes for detainees and possible food provisions for followers of certain religions,” the report read.

Ryoko Nakano, a scholar of Sino-Japanese ties at the National University of Singapore, said the preparations should not be read as Japan turning more belligerent. “At the end of the day, it is an exercise to smoothly transport POWs and properly treat them in accordance with international law,” she wrote in an e-mail. “Military forces do all those exercises, but it does not mean that Japan is willing to start a war.”

Last month, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe publicly called for a revision of the world’s third-largest economy’s pacifist constitution, which bars its armed forces from engaging in conflict overseas. Article 9 of Japan’s constitution in its current version renounces war as a means for settling disputes.

A press officer at Japan’s Ministry of Defence did not respond to e-mailed questions with regard to this article. China's Ministry of Defence did not respond to a written request for comment. 

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This article is now closed to comments

Max Diethelm
Japan treated American POWs extremely brutally. Will it treat POWs any differently now? Will the Geneva Convention mean anything to Japan? It sure looks like Japan is preparing for war. Any new war could potentially result in the total destruction of Japan this time.
M Miyagi
Japan’s armed forces preparation for the handling prisoners of war in any potential conflict should put POW welfare first like making sure they are well fed and if they are Muslims or Jews are served with halal or kosher food. It the POWs are Korean they should make kimchi available. For Chinese POWs, the Japanese should arrange for things like dim sum and all the liquor needed especially the good sake from Suntory. Also for the comfort of these POWs, the Japanese need to arrange Japanese comfort-women stations for the pleasures of these POWs. POWs should also get a monthly stipend or allowance of a few million yen each. If these policies were adopted by the Japanese, the very next day all the countries in the world will declare war on Japan and without a fight, surrender immediately making Japan the conqueror of the world thus making the wish of Emperor Hirohito and General Hideki Tojo come true. Shinzo Abe will be remembered in world history as a conqueror greater than Genghis Khan!
53854d25-37ec-46cd-99ca-35010a320969
They may also resurrect unit 731 and parpare doing experiments on POWs too.
How About
Who was that we've been reading about being aggressive and belligerent?
.
jiawang@adb.org
Wow! Japan is already planning to capture PLA soldiers and sailors.
Has anyone told China?
Camel
did you spell "human rights" correctly? (as in the English language, the word "human right" does not exist considering how those "English" speaking countries understand it)
req
good thing this war zone doesn't have much in the way of civilians. These **** voyeurs will be all over the children.
lucifer
These comments surely come from Mainlanders, spoon fed propaganda from birth that the Japan of today is exactly the same Japan that existed 70 years ago. The China of today's world is clearly the biggest violator of human rights.
Dao-Phooy
Given Abe's outlook are they preparing to recreate the camps of the Imperial Japanese army?
block8alai@gmail.com
Japan should also be prepared that the whole country is invaded by the Chinese - these are all simply jokes!

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