Location and history of the Senkaku Islands
The archipelago is a beautiful name, like the Senkaku Islands, located in the East China sea, 170 km North-East from the coast of Taiwan. About the same distance separates it from the Japanese Islands of Ishigaki, Miyakojima and some others, located far to the South-West of the main territory of Japan. For tourists the island is uninteresting, because to look at the Senkaku absolutely nothing. This tiny plots of land, unremarkable. There is not a curious natural objects or historical and architectural monuments. The Japanese have for some time used them as a base for fishermen, but has long since stopped due to unprofitability.
According to the official Japanese version, the Senkaku Islands have long been uninhabited. On this basis, and because there were no signs of finding these Islands under the jurisdiction of any country, in 1895 the government of Japan based on international law, declared that the Senkaku Islands now are part of their state.
For the sake of justice it is necessary to clarify that Japan had based their actions more on "the law of the strongest", as China had recently defeated in a war with her.
However, after the Second World war, Japan agreed to unconditional surrender, lost all the territory acquired since the late nineteenth century. The large island of Okinawa occupies an extremely favourable position, also came under jurisdiction of the United States, along with the Senkaku Islands. Only in early 70-ies of the Americans returned to the Japanese in these areas.
It would seem that now the affiliation of the Senkaku archipelago Japan is not causing and will not cause doubt. But in the early 90-ies of the people's Republic of China, who by that time one of the world leaders, announced that does not recognize Japanese sovereignty over the archipelago and considers the Diaoyu Islands (the Chinese name of the archipelago) part of its territory.
The first doubts about the legitimacy of Japanese sovereignty over the archipelago was made by the government of Taiwan in the early 70-ies, but they did not attract attention.
The causes of the current territorial dispute between China and Japan
But why the seemingly unremarkable of the tiny island suddenly became a "bone of contention"? Geologists found that the shelf sea around the Senkaku Islands contains large reserves of oil and gas. And rapidly growing economy of China needs a lot of energy, the purchase of which abroad leave a lot of money. Therefore, China is trying to assert its sovereignty over these Islands to begin producing oil and gas on rightful grounds. However, the Chinese do not advertise their purpose, related to the extraction of oil and gas.