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Japan Refuse to Withdraw Its Ban

Posted June. 25, 2001 20:01,   


Despite the Korean government request, Japan refuses to withdraw its decision to ban Korean fishing boats from Japan`s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Southern Kuril Islands.

Therefore, another Korea-Japan diplomatic clash is anticipated.

Foreign Minister Han Seung-Soo summoned Japanese Ambassador Terusuke Terada yesterday afternoon to file the strong protest, saying ``the fishing of the Korean vessels in the southern Kuriles conforms to the international laws and practices. And it has nothing to do with the territorial disputes between Japan and Russia.

Minister Han demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Japan`s decision since the Japanese banning of the Korean fishing boats from the EEZ violates the Korea-Japan fisheries pact.

Minister Han also said, ``if Japan provides a reasonable alternative as they did in 1992, Korean government will consider it positively,`` reminding that Japan opened an alternative fishing fields instead of the Kuril Islands.

However, Ambassador Terada remarked that ``Japan will definitely not ignore the violation of the sovereignty of Japan. The operation of the Korean fishing vessels with the permission by the Russia, who illegally occupies the northern four islands without the permission of Japan, would raise serious legal and political problems.

And he refused the Korean request for the immediate withdrawal, stating that ``until the suspension of the Korean fishing is verified, [Japan] cannot help but defer the permission requested by Korea.``

Ambassador Terada reiterated at the press meeting that ``the northern territory is under the Japanese sovereignty. Therefore, Japan will not acknowledge the Korea-Russia fisheries pact.``

Facing the strong response from Japan, the working groups of the Korean government, including Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Cheong Wa Dae, and the Prime Minister Office, will meet to discuss the countermeasures.

A related governmental authority analyzed that ``the Japanese decision to ban the fishing operation seems like a symbolic action. Japan will review our position and express its responses in some way.``

Boo Hyung-Kwon bookum90@donga.com