Copyright (c) 2002 Pacific Rim Law & Policy Association
Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal
ARTICLE: THE 1951 SAN FRANCISCO PEACE TREATY WITH JAPAN AND THE TERRITORIAL DISPUTES IN EAST ASIA
11 Pac. Rim L. & Pol'y J. 63
In 1895, Japan signaled its intention to join the world's great colonial powers by embarking on an aggressive campaign of territorial expansion in East Asia. 1 This campaign, though successful on its own terms, spread death and misery to millions of people living in the acquired territories. Finally, in 1945, Japan's empire imploded.
This Article argues that while the post-war period offered the opportunity for the complete and unambiguous resolution of territorial questions regarding Japan, the lack of precision in key diplomatic documents, especially the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951, allowed certain territorial disputes to arise between Japan and its neighbors. For example, Japan and Russia both claim sovereignty over the Kurile Islands, a small group of islands, currently occupied by Russia, lying to the north of Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan's four main islands. Additionally, Japan, China, and Taiwan all claim sovereignty over eight uninhabited islands in the East China Sea known as the Senkaku Islands. Finally, Japan and Korea both claim sovereignty over the Liancourt Rocks, a pair of rocky islets in the Sea of Japan/East Sea. The Liancourt Rocks are currently occupied by Korea.
Section II examines the historical background of each dispute including the bases for the claims made by the various parties. In the case of the dispute between Russia and Japan over the Kurile Islands, treaties executed between the two countries in 1855 and 1875 are the starting point of the discussion. ...
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