MOSCOW, November 11 (RIA Novosti) – Japan does not recognize the existence of a territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands with China, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed on Tuesday.
"Japan's position that there is no territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands remains unchanged," Kishida said at a press conference, as reported by Japan Times.
Kishida's claim pinpoints Japan's interpretation of a statement on the improvement of bilateral relations between Japan and China released on November 7. According to Japanese position, the sides agreed that they have different viewpoints over the causes of the "tense situation" over the Senkaku Islands, but have not admitted the existence of different positions over the territory's sovereignty.
The Dispute between Japan and China dates back to the 1970s. Japan claims that the Senkaku Islands had never been part of any state"s territory before that time. China insists that the Senkaku Islands became an integral part of Chinese territory sometime in the 14th century. After World War II the Islands were controlled by the United States and were transferred to Japanese control along with Okinawa Island in 1972. China considers that the Senkaku Islands are under Japanese occupation.
The recent escalation of the conflict started in mid-2012 when Japan announced the nationalization of the islands causing a wave of anti-Japanese protests in China. China expressed a willingness to take all the necessary measures to protect its territorial integrity.