Why Are China and Japan Sparring Over Eight Tiny, Uninhabited Islands?

Potential energy wealth beneath the East China Sea's Senkaku Islands places them at the center of a tense territorial dispute between China and its neighbors.

Part of our weekly "In Focus" series—stepping back, looking closer.

Why are China and Japan locked in a tense face-off, alarming the world and inflicting substantial economic pain on themselves, over a bunch of tiny uninhabited islands in the East China Sea?

Nationalist politics and historical resentments figure heavily in the territorial dispute, as do fish. But there's another potent ingredient: energy.

 

Read This Next

What drives elephant poaching? It’s not greed
How old are you, really? The answer is written on your face.
The rise of vegan safaris

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet