Register on site Sign in

Niwa's return to Beijing will spell recall's success or failure   2012-07-17 16:45:00

  Japan Sunday recalled its ambassador to China amid rising tensions between the two countries over the Diaoyu Islands issue. According to Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba, Ambassador Uichiro Niwa's "temporary return to Tokyo" would enable the Japanese government to gain a better understanding of the current state of Sino-Japanese relations as well as recent developments concerning the disputed Diaoyu Islands.

  Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa

  Usually, the formal recalling of an ambassador is seen as an important diplomatic measure to express a government's strong discontent.

  Such a recall is often accompanied by diplomatic representations, the severing of diplomatic relations and even a declaration of war.

  Ambassador Niwa's recall comes shortly after last Wednesday's incident in which Chinese patrol ships encountered Japanese vessels while conducting a routine patrol in waters near the Diaoyu Islands. In light of this incident, Japan's recalling of its ambassador could easily be interpreted as a protest against China in which Japan is seen as taking a hard-line stance over the issue.

  Last month Niwa openly criticized the plan of Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara to "purchase" the Diaoyu Islands, arguing that the plan would lead to an extremely serious crisis between China and Japan. His attitude likely angered the Japanese government and some Japanese media. His temporary recall could also be the Japanese government's way of admonishing him for what they may have seen as his rather intemperate words.

  The Japanese Foreign Ministry claimed that Niwa's return to Japan was not a "recall" aimed at protesting against China. The Foreign Minister said that he had asked Niwa to "accurately convey" the situation between Beijing and Tokyo during his temporary visit home. It appears that Japan is trying to play down the diplomatic implications of Niwa's temporary return.

  It is of less importance, however, whether the Japanese government's decision to "recall" its ambassador was a message aimed at the envoy himself, the Japanese media or China. What is crucial is that the Japanese side realizes the seriousness of challenging China over the Diaoyu Islands issue and that it no longer makes speeches or plans concerning "nationalizing" the islands.

  If the Japanese envoy returns to Beijing with the news that the Japanese government is ready to constructively deal with the Diaoyu Islands issue, his two-day return to Japan will have been a marked success.


source :     editor:: Diana
  Related Reading