Governing a troubled relationship: Can the field of fisheries breed sino-Japanese cooperation?

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Since the boat clash incident in September 2010, tensions have persisted between Japan and China over the sovereignty of the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands. Although territorial issues can easily become national symbols and used against other countries, nationalism hampers diplomatic concessions essential for diverse international resolutions. Greater the attention the public pays to such issues, lesser the room governments have for maneuvering. The Japanese and Chinese administrations will find it difficult to extricate themselves from the current deadlock if each party merely continues to assert its sovereignty over the islands. This study examines the possibility of expanding both countries' common interests in the East China Sea by focusing on the fisheries issues that triggered the 2010 incident. Japan and China have not fulfilled their obligation-as stipulated in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea-to conserve biological resources in their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). The New Japan-China Fisheries Agreement (2000) established vast special water zones in the middle of the East China Sea instead of demarking the EEZs between the two countries. However, the Joint Fisheries Committee established in accordance with the agreement has not worked to prevent overexploitation and to maintain sustainable development of fishery stocks in the zones. Thus, this paper proposes that Japan and China launch an initiative for effective control of fishing resources in the East China Sea, most preferably in collaboration with related neighboring parties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-72
Number of pages22
JournalJapanese Journal of Political Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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