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Senkaku purchase plan outweighs political gain

Date Posted: 2012-07-07

Tokyo’s flamboyant governor is putting all his political capital into raising the funds to purchase the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture from a Japanese landowner, saying the task is more important than his personal political ambitions.

Gov. Shintaro Ishihara says “I’ve just gotten started on the Senkakus, and I can’t just walk away without completing what I said I’d do.” Ishihara’s been in Singapore for the Asian Network of Major Cities meeting, when he was asked about the next Lower House election, and his plans. Last month he’d signaled interest in forming a new party prior to the next election, which could come sooner, rather than later, if the furor over the consumption tax hike boils over.

Ishihara says he’s aware of the possible loss of power by the Prime Minister, and a subsequent call for elections. He says he’s going to press the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s case on the Senkaku Islands, calling it more important than anything else. The Senkakus are claimed not only by Japan, but by China and Taiwan.

“I may advise that if the United States doesn’t take an interest in this matter,” Ishihara says, “all of the Pacific Ocean will be lost. This isn’t such an easy problem that can be taken care of while holding a general election.” The Tokyo governor says “this is an issue that could determine the fate of all of the Pacific, and not just Japan.”

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