(China Post) MOFA rejects Japan bid to extend airspace

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May 31, 2010 by Water Wisdom

Updated Sunday, May 30, 2010 0:20 am TWN, The China Post news staff

TAIPEI — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has formally rejected Japan’s unilateral decision to redraw the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) over Yonaguni Island, which lies just to the east of Taiwan, calling the Japanese move unacceptable.
Japan last week asked Taiwan if it could fly over all of Taiwan’s westernmost island of Yonaguni, but the foreign ministry officially said no yesterday.

The ministry also expressed regret over Japan’s failure to adequately communicate with Taiwan before coming to such a decision, as the west side of the ADIZ over the island falls under Taiwan’s jurisdiction.

James Chang, MOFA deputy spokesman, confirmed Thursday that Japan’s representative office in Taipei had notified the ministry that Japan had in principle decided to redraw its ADIZ over Yonaguni Island to use Taiwan’s airspace by moving the demarcation westward in mid-June.

After consulting fully with relevant government agencies, including the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, and some lawmakers, the MOFA issued a press statement earlier in the day rejecting Japan’s proposal.

The Republic of China government finds Japan’s decision unacceptable because the rezoning involves Taiwan’s airspace and the integrity of its national sovereignty, the MOFA said.

Yonaguni, Japan’s westernmost territory, lies just 108 km from Taiwan’s northeast coast. At present, the western two-thirds of the island falls within Taiwan’s ADIZ.

The MOFA said the current Taiwan-Japan ADIZ demarcation line was drawn during the U.S. military occupation of the Okinawa Islands after World War II.

The U.S. demarcation line left the area east of 123 degrees longitude to Japan and the area west of the line to Taiwan. The demarcation line remains valid today, the MOFA added.

The Japanese government said that it intends to redraw its ADIZ by moving the demarcation line two nautical miles to the west at the request of Yonaguni residents.

The MOFA said it is regrettable that the Japanese government did not fully discuss the plan with Taiwan before making such a decision.

An ADIZ differs from a flight information zone in that any aircraft using the airspace needs to obtain advance approval of due authority. Unapproved flights can be viewed as an incursion.

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