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Korea May Recall Its Ambassador to Japan

Posted March. 14, 2005 21:58,   


Japan’s Shimane Prefectural Assembly is set to approve a bill designating February 22 as “Takeshima Day” on March 16, further straining Korea-Japan relations.

Toshiyuki Takano , Japan’s ambassador to Korea, hurriedly returned to his country Sunday. The Japanese embassy explained Monday that the ambassador left for Japan in order to report on the situations in Korea regarding the Dokdo issue and Japan’s new history textbook, and to discuss possible measures to take.

It was known that Korean government had explained to Ambassador Dakano the strict policies that Korea plans to take on these issues prior to his departure.

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Lee Tae-sik appeared on a program on Monday and said, “The possibility [of recalling Korea’s ambassador to Japan] could be considered.”

The Korean-Japanese Lawmakers Association sent a bipartisan group of five delegates to Japan on Monday, with Rep. Hong Jae-hyung as the group leader. The group plans to meet with the head of the Japanese-Korean Lawmakers Association and former Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Nariyaki Nakayama, and Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura to express concerns over the Dokdo and history textbook issues, as well as to ask them to take corrective measures.

The Uri Party’s Moon Hee-sang, the head of the Korean-Japanese Lawmakers Association, said, “The Dokdo issue is a matter of Korea’s sovereignty. We have sent the delegate group because we believe we should take a firm stance against actions that are out of diplomatic norms.”

Meanwhile, the government held the first “public-private commission” meeting (Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan and former Chief Justice Lee Yong-hoon as co-chairpersons) that discusses countermeasures for the publication of the Korea-Japan Treaty on Basic Relations.

Officials from the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Ministry of Planning and Budget, Patriots and Veterans Administration Agency, Ministry of Finance and Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and commission members from the private sector participated in the meeting. The public-private commission was briefed by the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry on the “Timeline of the Treaty Publication and Following Plans.”

Jong-Koo Yoon jkmas@donga.com