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Japan uses conspicuous timing to repeat Dokdo claim

Posted March. 30, 2011 10:43,   


Japan has worsened bilateral relations with South Korea by claiming sovereignty over the Dokdo islets and issuing school textbooks with distorted history four times since the Lee Myung-bak administration was inaugurated.

Tokyo`s claim coincidentally came as Seoul suffered provocations from Pyongyang. Japan said it acted in accordance with its internal schedule but made room for criticism that it does not care about the South Korean government and people.

Early in the morning of July 11, 2008, South Korean tourist Park Wang-ja was shot dead by a North Korean soldier in the North`s tourist district of Mount Kumgang. The killing sent inter-Korean relations plummeting.

Four days later, Tokyo announced a revision to the guidebook for middle school teachers that included a claim to the Dokdo islets as Japanese territory.

North Korea launched a long-range missile on April 5, 2009, greatly raising tension on the Korean Peninsula and in the world. Four days later, the Japanese government approved a middle school textbook written by ultranationalists that distorted the shared history between the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

On Dec. 26, 2009, Tokyo announced the revision of the guidebook for high school students that again claimed Japanese sovereignty over Dokdo. Just a month prior, the North waged a battle in waters near Daecheong Island off the west coast, reversing the state of inter-Korean relations that had made improvement with the 2007 inter-Korean summit back to confrontation and conflict.

On March 26 last year, 46 seamen were killed in the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan near Baengnyeong Island. In a period of mourning in South Korea, Japan announced the test results of elementary school textbooks claiming Japanese sovereignty over Dokdo five days later.

Soon after the launch of the Lee Myung-bak administration, Japan proposed a guideline on raising the number of approved textbooks claiming Japanese sovereignty over the islets in May 2008, when anti-U.S. beef import protests were spreading into anti-government demonstrations in South Korea.