Monday, April 02, 2007

Japan Times Clarifies Tokyo Dorm Mess

An editorial in the Japan Times threw some light on the Supreme Court decision that awarded the dorm to Beijing. Check out that opening paragraph:

In a bizarre 5-0 ruling that was 20 years in the making, the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a lawsuit filed by the Taipei government against students living in a Kyoto dormitory. Forty years have passed since the lawsuit was filed. One cannot avoid the impression that the top court delayed the decision because it feared causing a political impact on relations among Japan, China and Taiwan.

Wow! The wheels of justice grind slow. But here's what happened -- a decision worthy of Solomon that decided nothing at all:

The Supreme Court's No. 3 petit bench concentrated on the question of whether Taipei had the right to continue the lawsuit. It acknowledged that Taipei had filed the lawsuit as the recognized representative of the Chinese state, but noted that because the 1972 Japan-China joint statement recognized Beijing as the sole representative of China, Beijing should be the plaintiff. It said that, legally speaking, the joint statement terminated the Taipei-originated lawsuit. Thus the top court scrapped four lower court rulings and ordered a retrial in Kyoto District Court. A decision by Beijing not to continue the lawsuit would mean Taipei's defeat.

Despite the apparent efforts to defuse the case, the possibility exists for a future dispute, as the Supreme Court ruling did not determine which party actually owns the dormitory. Taipei could file a new lawsuit asking for confirmation of its ownership.

Yes, that's right. The ROC government filed the lawsuit saying that it had the right to the dorm not because it purchased the thing, but because it was the representative of China. But the representative of China was sensibly recognized as Beijing. Since the representative of China would have to continue the lawsuit, Beijing would thus have to sue itself. The Japanese Court didn't consider who owned the dorm. It focused on who had the right to file a lawsuit.

Just another fuckup brought to you by the continuing fantasy that Taiwan is China.



2 comments:

James said...

This point isn't new. Read the 自由時報 story on 31th Mar:

在四次判決中,京都地院與大阪高院判決台灣勝訴的理由,除承認台灣在日本的「訴訟當事者能力」外,也認為光華寮不是外交財產,也非行使國家權力的財產,台灣取得這項財產是在日本承認中華人民共和國前,之後日本雖承認中華人民共和國主權,但不能認定台灣因此喪失光華寮的所有權。

James said...

sorry previous story was written before the rule. 李明峻 has an point here:

日本最高法院此次判決提及「姑且不論本案建築物的所有權是否屬於現在中國這個國家以外的權利主體」,顯然台灣應還可以「中華民國以外的名稱」設法繼續爭取。值得注意的是,以往因存在光華寮判例而無急迫性的「日本版台灣關係法」,目前反而因此一最高法院的判決而顯現其必要性。