The Daily Manila Shimbun


Japan finds document on earliest landing on Senkakus

May 15, 2017

TOKYO- The Japanese government has announced the discovery of a document indicating that royal family members of the Ryukyu Kingdom, which ruled an area in southwestern Japan, landed on the Senkaku Islands in 1819, the oldest recorded visit to the Japanese-administered islands.
The documented visit precedes that of a Briton in 1845, previously considered the first person to set foot on the Senkakus.
The discovery serves as a counterargument to China's claim that Japan was not linked to the Senkaku Islands, said an official at the Cabinet Secretariat's Office of Policy Planning and Coordination on Territory and Sovereignty.
China claims the uninhabited islands in the East China Sea as its own, calling them Diaoyu.
The document was discovered in a book about the Ryukyu Kingdom in the custody of the Okinawa Prefectural Library, during a government-commissioned project to research Senkakus-related documents, the government said Friday. The kingdom existed for about 450 years until the establishment of Okinawa Prefecture in 1879.
According to the document, a ship carrying royals from the Ryukyu Kingdom heading for Satsuma Domain, in the current Kagoshima Prefecture, was caught in a storm after leaving Naha in 1919. The ship was washed ashore on an island known locally as Yokonkobajima.
The royal party spent three days on the island searching for drinking water, the document said.
The island is believed to be part of the Senkaku Islands, judging from the positional relationship depicted in the document, researchers said. (Jiji Press)