Japan has staged a farce of "purchasing the Diaoyu Islands," and repeatedly claimed "sovereignty" over the islands. The country even forged evidence that it “preempted” the islands.
The Diaoyu Islands were actually usurped by Japan, as can be proved by Japan's official documents. An Okinawa magistrate "surveyed" the Diaoyu Islands in secret in 1885, and then asked the Japanese central government for instructions on whether to claim the islands as Japan's.
At the time, the Japanese government knew clearly the islands belonged to China, and thus decided not to act rashly. It was not until Japan won the First Sino-Japanese War over the Qing government that it dared to usurp the islands using the excuse that it occupied the islands first. Japan's theft of the islands from China is no different from looting a burning house.
In fact, Japan's usurpation of the Diaoyu Islands had long been confidential information to most Japanese. The Okinawa Prefecture part of the Map of and Place Name Index to Japan published by the Geographic Society of Japan in 1939 covers all islands, villages, and city and town streets in the prefecture, but shows no trace of the Diaoyu Islands, or the Senkaku Islands as Japanese would call it.
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