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Japanese Residents Are Also on the Move

Posted March. 14, 2005 22:03,   


On March 14, fishermen from Shimane Prefecture, Japan, who are at the center of controversy over the ownership of Dokdo, collectively demanded a guarantee for safe fishing in the waters around Dokdo.

While the Shimane Prefecture Assembly is expected to pass an ordinance of “Takeshima (Japanese name for Dokdo) Islets Day” at its main conference on March 16, citizens of Japan moved collectively, which is heightening the level of tension between Korea and Japan.

Facing the situation, the Japanese government is also working to arrange a plan after learning of Korea’s high level of anti-Japanese sentiment over Dokdo and the distorted textbook issues from its Ambassador to Korea Toshiyuki Takano on March 13.

Members of the Fishermen’s Cooperative Association in Shimane Prefecture held a regular meeting and adopted a special resolution on the day demanding the Japanese government to provide safe fishing in the waters around Dokdo, setting up an institution fully responsible for the “Takeshima” issue, and establishing “Takeshima Day” at a central government level.

Members claimed that they hoped an approval of the ordinance by the assembly will arouse the Japanese public and stated that the Japanese diplomatic attitude towards Korea was too soft.

They also asserted that despite the joint fishing waters, in which the two countries’ fishermen could work together around “Takeshima,” there is a large number of Korean fishing boats in the area that makes it virtually impossible for them to work in the area.

The Kyodo News reported that 1,200 members participated at the meeting, and a large applause broke out after the adoption of the resolution.

Hiroyuki Hosoda, chief cabinet secretary, stated at the news conference that Ambassador Takano returned to Japan in accordance with the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that he would discuss a future plan to cope with the issue after reporting the situation in Korea.

A source of the Japanese government mentioned that Ambassador Takano may visit the prime minister’s official residence, suggesting that Takano could personally report the situation to Prime Minster Junichiro Koizumi.

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com