Belief in territorial indivisibility and public preferences for dispute resolution

Songying Fang*, Xiaojun Li, Atsushi Tago, Daina Chiba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates how individuals may develop more or less strong beliefs in the indivisibility of a disputed territory and how such beliefs may influence their policy preferences toward resolving the dispute. Using a survey experiment in Japan, we find that historical ownership strengthens respondents' beliefs in territorial indivisibility. Furthermore, those who hold the strongest belief in territorial indivisibility are much less likely to support bilateral negotiation and more likely to support contentious policies, including but not limited to military actions. Finally, we explore external validity of the findings by analyzing respondents who had a real dispute in mind during the survey with China, South Korea, and Russia, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)759-775
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Science Research and Methods
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 2


  • Asian politics
  • experimental research
  • foreign policy
  • international conflict
  • public opinion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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