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Commentary on themes by historical period

Classification by historical periods II
From the time of the investigation conducted by Okinawa Prefecture, until the incorporation of the Senkaku Islands into Japan's territory (1885 to 1895)

(1) Okinawa Prefecture’s investigation of the Senkaku Islands and application for their incorporation into its jurisdiction

Okinawa Prefecture’s investigation of the Senkaku Islandsand application for their incorporation into its jurisdiction

 In the 1880s, the growing advances into East Asia by the Western powers, as exemplified by the outbreak of the Sino-French War (*1:1883-1885) followed by the Port Hamilton incident (*2: April 1885), heightened tensions in East Asia. Under these circumstances, the Japanese government decided to step up its surveillance of the surrounding islands. Sutezo NISHIMURA, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture, reported to the Minister of Home Affairs on September 22, 1885, on the plan to conduct an investigation of the Senkaku Islands, and asked the central government for instruction of the erection of territorial markers.

 Thereafter, Okinawa Prefecture conducted an on-site investigation on Uotsuri IslandNo.4No.5, confirmed that there was no evidence of control by other countries, and once again submitted an application to the central government for territorial markers. In response, the central government deferred the erection of territorial markers in consideration of the international situation and relations with other countries.

 After that, in the approximately 10-year period until the Cabinet decision was made to incorporate the islands as part of the territory of Japan (incorporation into the jurisdiction of Okinawa Prefecture), Okinawa Prefecture twice proposed to the central government to incorporate the islands under its jurisdiction. As a result of our research on relevant historical documents and materials, we confirmed the existence of a map showing that Okinawa Prefecture had recognized the Senkaku Islands as islands under its jurisdictionNo.6.

  The investigation of the Senkaku Islands by Okinawa Prefecture in 1885 was conducted for reasons of national defense. We have confirmed that, after this investigation, Okinawa Prefecture had recognized the Senkaku Islands as uninhabited islands under its jurisdiction.

*1 France and the Qing Dynasty waged war over the suzerainty of Viet Nam from 1883 to 1885.
*2 The British Navy occupied Port Hamilton, a remote island south of Korea, in April 1885, due to the confrontation between Britain and Russia at the time.

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