Case study II: the East China Sea dispute
The preceding chapter has demonstrated the extent to which resurgent nationalism exacerbates the Japanese-Chinese ‘history’ problem as manifested in their diplomatic quarrels over Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni-jinja. Similarly, bilateral issues concerning maritime territorial integrity and sovereignty are extremely delicate and potentially explosive, as they often arouse nationalistic impulses that galvanise societal and governmental responses ‘disproportionate to the material stakes involved’ (Roy 2003: 3). Indeed, nationalism is widely perceived to have increased the stakes and retarded possible resolutions of their competing sovereignty and resource claims over the ECS islands and surrounding waters, turning the dispute into a key diplomatic quandary. Utilising the NCR framework, this second case study attempts to assess nationalism’s role vis-à-vis other determinants affecting the Koizumi administration’s perceptions/calculation and policy options when dealing with China over the ECS maritime territorial dispute. The focus of analysis is on their competing claims over the Senkaku/ Diaoyudao archipelago, quarrels regarding natural gas exploration, and alleged Chinese violations of the Japanese maritime boundary within the ECS.