Power Struggle and Diplomatic Crisis: Past, Present and Prospects of Sino-Japanese Relations over the Senkaku Conundrum


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When: Feb 13 2013 - 10:30am until Feb 13 2013 - 12:00pm
Where: East-West Center in Washington: 1819 L St. NW, Suite 600. Washington, DC. 22202

Power Struggle and Diplomatic Crisis: Past, Present and Prospects of Sino-Japanese Relations over the Senkaku Conundrum

An Asia-Pacific Political Economy Seminar Featuring:

Dr. Yasuhiro Matsuda

Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, University of Tokyo


Professor at University of Tokyo, Dr. Yasuhrio Matsuda examined all angles of the current dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku-Diaoyutai islands to a full-house at the East-West Center in Washington.In 2012, the latent dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands developed into a serious contaminant of Sino-Japan relations. Why did this “Senkaku Conundrum” breakout? Why did then-Governor of Tokyo Shintaro Ishihara announce his plan to purchase the islands and why did the Noda Administration decide to nationalize them? Why, months later, is China continuing its radical response to that move? Does there appear to be a correlation between China’s leadership change and the Senkaku issue? Will China resort to military force? If so, what will the Abe administration’s response be?

Dr. Yasuhiro Matsuda made an effort to offer some answers to this string of questions surrounding the pressing territorial issue in the East China Sea, attempting to present the dispute from all sides and eras- historically, at present, and into the future. After examining the various domestic pressures acting on the leadership of both Japan and China over the islands, Dr. Matsuda concluded that high tension could continue until both Prime Minister Abe and President Xi Jinping solidify their political positions. While neither side wants war, the price of concession is high for both sides, and the Senkaku/Daioyu issue could continue to simmer with regional reprocussions should it boil-over again.

Click here to download the slides of Dr. Matsuda's powerpoint presentation:[pdf]

Dr. Yasuhiro Matsuda is a Professor at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo. His research specialties include the political and diplomatic history of Asia, politics and foreign relations in the PRC and Taiwan and cross-strait relations, and Japan’s foreign and security policies. Prior to joining the faculty at Tokyo University, he spent sixteen years as a Research Fellow at the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), part of the Japan Defense Agency (now Ministry of Defense.) He was a member of the Council on Security and Defense Capability in the New Era, the advisory group of the Prime Minister in 2010. He is the winner of the seventh Yasuhiro Nakasone Award of Excellence in 2011 and has published numerous books and articles in Japanese and English. His most recent English-language publication is “Taiwan in the China-Japan-US Triangle,” in Getting the Triangle Straight: Managing China-Japan-US Relations, [Japan Center for International Exchange, 2010]. He received his Ph.D. in Law in 2003 from the Graduate School of Law at Keio University and his MA in International Studies in 1990 from the Graduate School of Area Studies, Tokyo University.

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Grace Ruch
Phone: 202-327-9762