In an unusual political pronouncement, Japan’s consul general in Atlanta, Takuji Hanatani, sent a letter on Oct. 6 to the media and other “colleagues” about his country’s position regarding the Senkaku Islands.

On Sept. 8, Japan’s Coast Guard arrested the crew of a Chinese fishing vessel operating in the waters off the islands, which are located in the East China Sea between Okinawa and Taiwan.

The rocky islands are claimed by both China and Japan in a territorial dispute that may be related to the fishing rights in the area as well as the natural resources under the surrounding seabed.

The Chinese call the islands the “Diaoyutai,” while the Japanese call them the “Senkaku.”

“There is no doubt that the Senkaku Islands are clearly an inherent territory of Japan, in light of historical facts and based upon international law,” the consul general said in his letter.

He referred readers to two websites:


He also said that U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton affirmed during a Sept. 23 meeting with Japan’s foreign minister, Seiji Maehara, that the islands are subjects to a treaty of mutual cooperation and security between Japan and the United States, and that U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also has confirmed that the U.S. would fulfill its alliance obligations.

For additional information regarding the islands, he referred readers to Consul Yukimi Kurata at

The consulate general may be reached by calling (404) 240-4300.