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Japanese Diplomats Attempting to Sway International Public Opinion?

Japanese Diplomats Attempting to Sway International Public Opinion?

Posted March. 27, 2005 23:20,   


Naoyuki Agawa, the minister for Public Affairs of the Japanese Embassy in the U.S., sent a letter to the Washington Post on March 25, saying, “It is wrong for The Washington Post to use both the names ‘Dokdo’ and ‘Takeshima,’ and to use ‘East Sea’ as well as ‘Sea of Japan’ which is an internationally recognized name.”

It is the second time a Japanese diplomat, not a politician, has argued that Dokdo is Japanese territory since the claim was made by Japanese Ambassador to Korea Toshiyuki Takano. Whether this will be a start of moves by the Japanese government to persuade international public opinion of its position on this matter is being watched with keen interest.

Minister Agawa contended in his letter that “South Korea’s efforts to change the name of the Sea of Japan to the East Sea will be in vain because the name came into use before the colonial period, rather than after Japanese rule, as Korea claims it to be.”

“After sending a letter to a division in the U.N. last year, the Japanese government got an answer in favor of Japan’s position,” said the Korean minister for Public Affairs in the U.S. Oh Soo-dong. He pointed out, “This is against the U.N.’s policy of using both names involved in a dispute.”

Minister Oh expressed his will to confront Japan on the matter, saying, “We will explain Korea’s stance by using materials found in the U.S. Library of Congress.”

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com