Posted March. 23, 2005 22:26,
President Roh Moo-hyun said on March 23, We can no longer overlook Japans intention to justify the history of colonial rule and to enhance hegemony again. He also stressed, I will not leave the problem in a question and eradicate it this time, no matter how difficult.
The president discussed his position in A Letter to the People in Relation to the Recent Relationship Between Korea and Japan posted on the Cheong Wa Dae website. The government has claimed that trade and cooperation between Korea and Japan would be the same as in the past after it presented a New Doctrine on March 17 in the name of the National Security Council. But the relationship between the two seems to be heading toward confrontation as President Roh made his hawkish stance clear.
The president affirmed in the letter that Japan seized Dokdo with armed forces during the Russo-Japanese War in which Japan invaded Korea, and he went on to say that Shimane Prefecture in Japan publicized February 22 as the day of Takeshima (Dokdos Japanese name) to celebrate the inclusion of Dokdo into Japanese territory 100 years ago. This could mean that Japan is trying to justify the war in its past and deny the independence of Korea.
He went even further, saying, The visits to the Yasukuni shrine of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are almost the same as hindering the honesty of introspections and apologies of Japanese leaders in the past, since an apology exists on the premise of self-examination. And then, necessary actions should be followed up, accordingly.
The president said, We cannot help regarding these actions as Japanese because all these things are occurring with the support of the Japanese government, which has closed its eyes on this issue. They are not isolated incidents by mere local governments or irrational nationalists. Such attitudes are nothing but the nullification of apologies and self-examinations done by Japan in the past.
President Roh mentioned three countermeasures after he said, The government will do its utmost until acceptable results to the public come out. Those three are as follows: a strident diplomatic response to ask for a correction from the Japanese government; to call on Japan to regain credit in the international community as a firm peaceful nation by appealing to the international community; and to persuade the Japanese public.