Diaoyu Islands

Taiwan activists rally against Japan over islands

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 September, 2012, 5:41pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

Hundreds of slogan-chanting Taiwanese activists and their supporters rallied against Japan on Sunday amid an ongoing territorial dispute over an island group in the East China Sea.

The demonstrators from several right-wing parties and civil groups called for a boycott of Japanese goods as they were marching past a department store known for its sales of Japanese-made items.

“Down with Japanese imperialism!”, “Diaoyutai is ours, Japanese get out of Diaoyutai!” the crowd shouted, referring to the Chinese name for the islands that the Japanese call Senkaku. They unfurled banners and clutched anti-Japanese placards during the peaceful march.

The island group is controlled by Japan and is also claimed by Beijing and Taiwan. The uninhabited islands lie 400 kilometres from the Okinawan capital of Naha and 200 kilometres from Taiwan.

Apparently mindful of the growing clout of China and the island’s fast-improving ties with Beijing, the demonstrators called for co-operation with the mainland to solve the territorial dispute.

Television images showed an activist waving a huge Chinese national flag to highlight the controversial appeal.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has said Taipei has no intention of working with Beijing, mindful that doing so could hurt the island’s ties with Japan and cause concerns in Washington.

Tension mounted after Japan announced earlier this month it had completed a planned purchase of some of the islands, prompting Taiwan to recall its envoy to Tokyo and triggering mass protests in China.

Tens of thousands of anti-Japanese demonstrators took to the streets in cities across China, with some vandalising Japanese shops and factories, forcing firms to shut or scale back production.

The islands lie on vital shipping lanes and are believed to be near potentially rich gas fields.