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In Shimane Prefecture, Guards Are Stationed in Government Building Corridors

In Shimane Prefecture, Guards Are Stationed in Government Building Corridors

Posted March. 15, 2005 22:27,   


A day before the passage of the proposed Dokdo ordinance on March 15, the prefectural government building in Matsue, Shimane was heavily guarded, unlike on February 23 when the “Takeshima Day” bill was submitted. Guards were placed in every corridor as well as in front of the entrance of the building to regulate the entry of the public.

Next to Tottori prefecture, Shimane prefecture off the East Sea is a municipal body that has the second-smallest population of 750,000 in Japan. The staff at the prefectural government office clearly seemed nervous as reporters from every region in Japan simultaneously crowded for news in Matsue, home to 150,000 residents and where the prefectural government is located.

At around 3:00 p.m., staff members of the prefecture office, stiff-faced, suddenly encamped before the prefecture building

“Korean civic group members have come to protest,” whispered Japanese reporters.

Two people, including Choi Jae-ik, a Seoul Metropolitan Council member and the first village head of Dokdo-ri, Ulleung Province, and one interpreter, had visited the government building. At the appearance of three Koreans, the office staff members seemed to be anxious and did not let their guard down.

Choi had a press conference in front of the government building and said, “I will meet the prefectural council members tomorrow and persuade them to withdraw the proposed bill. I will respond more strongly if they insist on approving the bill.”

Meanwhile, a bus carrying a Japanese nationalist group with a Nagasaki plate number was seen in downtown Izumo, an hour away by car from the prefectural government building. This scene validated speculations that a number of nationalist group would flock to the prefectural government building to stage a protest.

“I never imagined things would become this big”, said a member of the prefecture government, who added, “I suspect things will get troublesome downtown tomorrow, but I hope there won’t be any disgraceful accidents.”

This politician, who had agreed to present the bill, noted, “It’s the central government’s fault to have neglected the problem while Korea had been illegally occupying Takeshima, Japan’s own territory, either based on history or international law.”

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com