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The Wave of Protest Across Korea

Posted March. 16, 2005 22:13,   


After Shimane Prefecture’s parliament approved a bill to declare “Takeshima Day” on March 16, Korean civic groups held protest rallies across the country, urging the Japanese provincial parliament to scrap the bill.

Anti-Japanese sentiments are intensifying, with some civic groups and netizens declaring boycotts of Japanese goods.

Gyeongbuk Province’s parliament organized a “Protest against Japan’s outrageous attempt to claim sovereignty over Dokdo” for around 11:30 a.m. that day in the courtyard of the parliament, where it burned a three meter by two meter Japanese national flag. Three parliamentarians, including Yoon Gyeong-hee (46), shaved their heads in protest.

The Daegu city parliament also announced a resolution which states that the Japanese government should offer its sincere apology to Korean victims of its colonial rule.

A series of protests by both conservative and progressive groups continued all day long around the Japanese embassy building in Joonghak-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul.

Some 20 members of conservative groups, like the Citizens League to Stop North Korean Nuclear Attempts and the Hwalbindan, held a protest in front of the Japanese embassy building at around 10:00 a.m. in which they threw mock-ups of distorted history textbooks published by Fusosha, a Japanese publisher, at the embassy building. They also burned a photo of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and a Japanese flag.

As it became dark, members of the Confederation for Unification and lawmakers of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) organized a candlelight vigil. The DLP representatives said that they would visit to encourage the patrol unit of Dokdo on March 20 and 21.

Sung-Jin Choi needjung@donga.com choi@donga.com