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Okinotorishima: A Rock Or An Island? Recent Maritime Boundary Controversy Between Japan And Taiwan/China

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Chapter Summary

In 1987, it was reported that Japan had begun construction of defensive facilities surrounding Okinotorishima in order to protect it from submersion caused by wind and water erosion. This chapter discusses an international law viewpoint, the legal status of Okinotorishima, which is currently uninhabitable and unable to sustain economic activity. It gives a background on the history and geography of Okinotorishma and explains the importance of Okinotorishima. The chapter outlines the principal reasons why official disputes have arisen in the arena of East Asian international politics and foreign affairs. It explains Japan's claim for special laws for Okinotorishima, detailing how Japan has adopted various methods for maintaining the reefs above the waterline and strengthening the status of the island, in order to support the claims that Okinotorishima can enjoy an EEZ and a continental shelf. The chapter looks at international law and international legal scholars' analysis of Japan's position.

Keywords: continental shelf; East Asian international politics; exclusive economic zone (EEZ); international law; Japan; Okinotorishima



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