China says Japan should honour its surrender, and withdraw from the Ryukyus

Shinzo Abe

Shinzo Abe

China’s Global Times has issued a broadside at Japan over the independence of the Ryukyu Islands:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently said, “We must make clear to the world Japan’s positions on the Ryukyus” in order to negate China’s position on rediscussing the Ryukyu issue. I believe that Abe does have a lot to make clear about his positions on that issue.

First, we earnestly hope that the Japanese government gives its explanation to the world: Why did the Japanese headquarters issue to local garrison the “Smashing Jade Order” on March 25, 1945 to “drown all Ryukyus people in blood, kill all the people on Ryukyus and leave no grass even on one square inch of land”? There are records that before the battle on Okinawa, the population of the Island of Okinawa was 470,000, but when US troops occupied Okinawa, only 110,000 island residents remained. Where had the other 360,000 of the population gone?

We would like to ask Mr. Abe: Has the Japanese government any plan to compensate the victimised Ryukyu people? Will the Japanese government not give a true account to the Ryukyu people and the international community how the “Smashing Jade Order” was implemented and what was the consequence of the implementation?

Second, we would like to ask Mr. Abe: Do you have any ground to justify the re-colonisation of the Ryukyus by colonist rulers? I believe, the term “Ryukyu slave” remains fresh in Mr. Abe’s memory. It was a general term used by the Japanese community about the Ryukyu people in their colony. In many books and documents, we can find evidence of Japanese people calling Ryukyu people “Ryukyu slaves.”

The Japanese could enslave, massacre, kidnap and rape Ryukyu people at will. They bound and sent them to South America, Southeast Asia, “Manchuria” and Japan’s own territories to do backbreaking work as slaves, or forced them to do sweated labour, or serve as cannon fodder in Japanese troops. Ryukyu people had no personal freedom or the right to vote. They were even deprived of the right to speak their own language. Whoever spoke the Ryukyu language would be put to death.

Please do not deny the history of the colonist rule or obstinately assert, “Ryukyus are undoubtedly Japanese territory judging by history or international law.” There is historic record that when the United States asked Japan to open the ports on the Ryukyus in 1853, the Japanese government gave the explanation of the fact that the Ryukyus belonged to China.

Third, I should ask Mr. Abe: Does Japan still honour its unconditional surrender in the past? If so, why has it not withdrawn from the Ryukyus and why has it seized the Diaoyus on the basis of its occupation of the Ryukyus?

Ryukyus’ sovereignty belongs to Ryukyu people. Without Ryukyu people’s consent or the approval of all the victorious nations of World War II, any action detrimental to Ryukyu sovereignty is illegal. Moreover, the diplomatic documents of various parties indicate that when the United States transferred the right of administration over the Ryukyus to Japan, it did not involve sovereignty.

The Japanese government, however, claims that the sovereignty over the Ryukyus belongs to Japan. I would like to give you the advice that you should rein in on the brink of the precipice, and return the sovereignty over the Ryukyus to Ryukyu people. Otherwise, you will only end up eating your own bitter fruit.

Note the much bigger stake in Sino-Japanese maritime territorial dispute now.

In history, China was Ryukyus’ suzerain, but previous reports and articles only advocated that the Ryukyus did not belong to Japan. In this article, it mentioned the historical fact that the Japanese government said in 1853 that the Ryukyus belonged to China.

In fact, when China was Ryukyus’ suzerain, Ryukyus had full autonomy and China did not station its troops there. But in history, Chinese troops were stationed in Korea (the unified Korea then). In addition, Vietnam and Mongolia were Chinese territories. There will be endless trouble if China tries to recover its suzerain position or sovereignty over those countries.

I believe, China should respect the status quo with regard to all those areas except the Ryukyus. Due to the history of Japan’s bloody occupation and cruel persecution of the Ryukyu people, if the Ryukyu people really want independence, China and Western countries should support them. Support in the same manner as Western countries supported the struggle of eastern European countries for independence from the Soviet Union. As Ryukyus’ previous suzerain, China should play a greater role, but it should clearly announce that it has no intention to annex the Ryukyus.

(Tang Chunfeng is a Japanese expert in the Research Institute of China’s Ministry of Commerce)
Source: Tang Chunfeng’s article on Global Times “Ask Abe: Do You Honor Japan’s Surrender? Why Not Withdraw from Ryukyus?” (Translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
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4 replies


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