Japanese government decides to buy Senkaku islands offsets Tokyo metropolitan government’s plan to do the same; Japan to contribute 3 billion dollars in aid to Afghanistan; Japan reacts sharply to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to the Nor
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  • According to reports, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda recently announced his government’s intention to buy the Senakaku Islands in the Okinawa Prefecture. He also said that the government has already contacted the owner of those islands in this regard. While taking a firm stance on the territorial dispute over Senkaku islands, Noda reiterated “There can be no doubt that the Senakaku Islands are part of Japanese territory, both under international law and from historical point of view.” He further stated that the islands “are under the effective control of our nation and there is no territorial issue with any other country with any other country over the islands.” 1

    However, reports noted that Noda Administration’s plan is bound to offset Tokyo Metropolitan government’s plan to purchase the disputed islands. It is worth noting that Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara, about two months ago, announced the planned move in that direction. Tokyo has also collected more than 1.3 billion yen in donations from all over the country to purchase the islands. While reacting to national government’s plan, Ishihara has stated that Tokyo will proceed with its plan regardless of the central government’s policy. 2

    In another development, according to reports, Japan has recently decided to offer about 3 billion dollars in aid to Afghanistan over the next five years till 2016. The aid will basically be used to help the war-torn country to develop its economy and maintain security. It is worth noting that on July 8, 2012, Japan hosted and chaired an international conference that was to offer assistance on Afghanistan. The meeting was attended by representatives from about 80 countries and organizations. Japan has already set the goal of 15.5 billion dollars in aid for Afghanistan between 2012-2013 from the participant countries and organizations. 3

    In the meantime, reports noted that Japanese government has strongly reacted to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s visit on July 3, 2012 to Kunashiri Island, one of the four Russian-held northern Islands claimed by Japan. While stating that the visit was nothing more than the Russian Prime Minister’s presence on a Russian territory, Medvedev indicated that he would continue to make such visit in the future. It is worth noting that it was Medvedev’s second visit to Kunashiri as part of his tour of the Russian Far East. In November 2010, he paid his first visit to Kunashiri as Russian President. While reacting to Medvedev’s visit, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba stated that the Russian PM’s move counters Tokyo’s stance on the Northern Territories and “throws cold water on efforts to create a favorable environment fore better bilateral ties.” The Japanese government has apparently summoned Russian Ambassador to Japan and filed a protest. 4