June 29, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)
Japan, China should hold dialogue over tensions
視点・2016参院選 日中関係 リスク正視し、対話を=論説委員・坂東賢治

The Chinese navy is stepping up its operations in areas around Japan amid stalled moves toward improving bilateral relations. China's actions, so to speak, are its version of "freedom of navigation" operations vis-a-vis Japan.
日中関係改善の動きが停滞する中、中国海軍が日本周辺での行動を活発化させている。日本に対する「航行の自由」作戦ともいえるものだ。

Japan's ruling and opposition parties, however, have made no concrete proposals over how to respond to China's recent moves and make a breakthrough in bilateral relations, giving us the impression that they lack a sense of crisis. Both the ruling and opposition camps need to have more in-depth discussion on the issue.
しかし、中国の新たな動きにどう対応し、日中関係の現状を打開していくのか。与野党ともに具体的な考え方を示しておらず、危機意識が感じられない。もっと議論が必要だ。

The Chinese military's moves are regarded as "revenge" against Japan for its support of the U.S. military's "freedom of navigation" operations in the South China Sea and for leading discussions over the South China Sea issue during the Group of Seven Ise-Shima Summit in May.
中国軍の活動は南シナ海で米軍が実施する「航行の自由」作戦を日本が支持し、5月の主要国首脳会議で南シナ海問題の議論を主導したことに対する意趣返しとみられている。

A Chinese navy vessel for the first time sailed into contiguous waters just outside the Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands in Okinawa Prefecture while tailing Russian navy ships. A Chinese information-gathering vessel also passed through Japanese territorial waters off Kuchinoerabu Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.
尖閣諸島周辺の領海外側の接続水域にロシア海軍艦船を追尾して中国海軍の艦船が初めて入ったほか、口永良部(くちのえらぶ)島沖の領海内を情報収集艦が航行した。

It is only natural for Tokyo to have lodged a protest against Beijing over such provocative, unilateral actions by Chinese vessels. However, navigation in contiguous waters itself does not run counter to international law. With regard to the Chinese ship's entry into Japanese territorial waters, Beijing asserts its legitimacy on the grounds that the vessel passed through Tokara Strait, which it claims to be "an international strait."
緊張を高める、一方的な行動に日本政府が抗議したのは当然だが、接続水域の航行自体は国際法違反ではない。中国は領海侵入についても「国際海峡であるトカラ海峡」を通過通航したと合法性を主張している。

While Japan doesn't need to succumb to such an argument, it should read China's signals accurately. The fact that China brought up the notion of "international straits" for the first time apparently indicates that those Chinese vessels' actions were premeditated to defy Japan's interpretation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
中国の主張を受け入れる必要はないが、シグナルは正確に受け止めるべきだろう。特に「国際海峡」との主張は初めてのことであり、日本の国連海洋法条約解釈に挑戦する、計算ずくの行動と考えられるからだ。

The right of passage in international straits is granted even within a country's territorial waters. That right is more powerful than the right of innocent passage for passing through territorial waters, in that the former right is interpreted to allow even submarines and airplanes to pass through international straits.
国際海峡には領海内でも通過通航権が認められる。潜水艦が潜行したり、航空機が上空を飛行したりすることも可能と解釈される点で領海通過の際の無害通航権より強い権利だ。

Japan has set Soya, Tsugaru and three other straits as specified waters and curtailed the inherent 12 nautical mile territorial waters to just 3 nautical miles, thereby leaving out more of the high seas where freedom of navigation is guaranteed. Through such measures, Japan has avoided recognition of international straits and application of the right of passage. However, some international law scholars in the United States and Europe have taken the position that those five straits, as well as Tokara Strait and some other straits, are international waters, a position apparently echoed by the United States.
日本は宗谷、津軽など五つの海峡を「特定海域」として本来12カイリの領海を3カイリにとどめ、自由に航行できる公海の部分を残して国際海峡の認定や通過通航権の適用を回避する政策をとってきた。しかし、欧米の国際法学者の間には5海峡をはじめ、トカラ海峡など複数の海峡を国際海峡とする見解がある。米国の立場もこれに近いとされる。

Japan asserts that Tokara Strait is not being used for international passage and is therefore not an international strait. Japan has good reason to insist on this legitimacy as the interpretation of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea hasn't been established. However, it remains unclear how Japan is going to respond if China ever has its aircraft and submarines pass through the strait. It is also uncertain how the United States would react to such a situation.
日本はトカラ海峡は国際的な通航には使われておらず、国際海峡ではないとの立場だ。海洋法条約の解釈は確立しておらず、正当性を主張する余地がある。しかし、中国が実際に航空機や潜水艦を航行させた場合、どう対応するのか。米国の出方も不透明だ。

In order to avoid any accidental clashes, it is imperative to secure a communication mechanism where Japan can confirm China's true intentions. While the United States and China has a crisis management mechanism in place, negotiations over a maritime and air liaison mechanism between Japan and China haven't progressed.
偶発的な衝突の回避のためには中国の真意をただすなど意思疎通が不可欠だろう。米中には一定の危機管理メカニズムがあるが、日中の海空連絡メカニズムの交渉は進んでいない。

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to visit China in September, to be followed by a summit meeting between Japan, China and South Korea by the end of the year in Japan. Tokyo should squarely face up to the risks that lie between Japan and China and advance bilateral dialogue as a means of crisis management.
9月には安倍晋三首相が訪中し、年内に日本で日中韓首脳会談が開かれる予定だ。日中間のリスクを正視し、危機管理のための対話を進めるべき時だ。

(By Kenji Bando, Editorial Writer)

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