Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who stepped down in 2010, just told a Hong Kong television station that the Senkaku Islands belong to China.
“Hatoyama said it was unavoidable that China would state that Japan stole the uninhabited islets in the East China Sea,” reports the Japan Times. “Hatoyama said he thinks the Senkakus are implied in the Cairo Declaration from China’s view…which called for Japan to be stripped of all islands it had seized or occupied in the Pacific since the beginning of World War I in 1914.”
Hatoyama’s comments have already provoked an angry response from the government: “I was dumbfounded and at loss for words after hearing those remarks,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who said Hatoyama’s position is “irresponsible” and “totally unacceptable.”
Japanese nationalists looking to reinforce their hardline stance will likely be offering more angry denunciations of the former Prime Minister in the next few days. If anything comes of the former PM’s remarks, it will probably be yet another ratcheting up of nationalist rhetoric across the region.