The Senkakus in the ICJ

The Japan Times published an article today reporting that, in Jerome Cohen’s view, Japan should take the dispute over the Senkaku Islands to the International Court of Justice. From Tokyo’s perspective, this could be a win-win: either China consents to jurisdiction, in which case Japan likely prevails on the merits, or China refuses to consent, in which case Japan has achieved a significant diplomatic victory by coming across as the only party sufficiently confident in its claim to seek a resolution before an international tribunal. Why hasn’t this happened? One possibility is that the Japanese government simply doesn’t want to run the risk that the ICJ will rule against it, however unlikely that may be. Another possibility is that litigation would require a reversal of Tokyo’s longstanding position that there’s “no dispute” to begin with–one cannot simultaneously litigate a claim and deny that there’s anything to litigate–and Tokyo fears that the change will weaken national credibility. Still another concern might be that recognizing the existence of a dispute will create unwanted opportunities for China. Beijing might respond, for example, by demanding bilateral negotiations and using its steadily increasing leverage to insist upon a series of painful concessions.

This entry was posted in International Law, Senkaku / Diaoyu Islands, Uncategorized, 尖閣諸島 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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