Japan, Lawfare and the East China Sea

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In an article published by The Diplomat on May 29, Jerome Cohen makes an impassioned and well-reasoned argument for states in East Asia to utilize independent, third-party arbitration mechanisms wherever possible to challenge China’s maximalist claims.

This was very much the theme of a question I asked Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at his opening keynote address at this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue. Essentially, I asked the question as I wanted to challenge his strong theme of international law in his speech by highlighting Tokyo’s seeming reticence to take the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands dispute to international arbitration. His answer was effectively to support the statement made by former foreign minister Koichiro Gemba in November 2012, that Japan is subject to compulsory arbitration under UNCLOS, but it is up to China to bring the case to court because Japan doesn’t consider there to be a dispute.

Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2014/06/japan-lawfare-and-the-east-china-sea/

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