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Japan expresses serious concern on China’s brazen aggression

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Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on the recent surge in Tensions in the South China Sea.

1.     Japan reiterates serious concern over repeated actions which obstruct freedom of navigation and increase regional tensions including recent dangerous actions that resulted in damage to the Filipino vessel and injuries to Filipinos onboard.

2.     Japan believes that the issue concerning the South China Sea is directly related to the peace and stability of the region and is a legitimate concern of the international community, and thus Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force as well as any actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea. As stated in the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement in February 2023, the Government of Japan opposes unlawful maritime claims, militarization, coercive activities and threat or use of force in the South China Sea.

3.     Also, Japan highly appreciates the Government of the Philippines for having consistently complied with the Arbitral Tribunal’s award as to the disputes between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China regarding the South China Sea and shown its commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea, as stated in the joint press statement between Japan and the Philippines issued in November 2023, and the statement by the Foreign Minister of Japan issued in July 2023, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the issuance of the award.

4.     The arbitral award is final and legally binding on the parties to the dispute under the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and Japan strongly hopes that the parties’ compliance with the award will lead to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the South China Sea.

5.     Japan has consistently advocated upholding the “rule of law” at sea, and will continue to cooperate with the international community such as ASEAN Member States and the United States to protect the free and open international order based on the “rule of law”.

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