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Japanese Foreign Minister: Roh Should Have Been More Candid

Japanese Foreign Minister: Roh Should Have Been More Candid

Posted April. 01, 2005 23:26,   


Nobutaka Machimura, the Japanese foreign minister, repeatedly asserted on April 1 that President Roh Moo-hyun didn’t request that the Japanese prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine.

Regarding his statement to the Japanese parliament two days before, in which he said that President Roh didn’t raise a question over Prime Minister Koizumi’s visits to Yasukuni Shrine at the Korea-Japan summit at the end of last year, Foreign Minister Machimura stated at the news conference on April 1 that “I thought that it would have been better if President Roh spoke more frankly, so I said it like that.”

Machimura noted that although there was an ambiguous mention of a “shrine problem” between two leaders at the summit, President Roh didn’t say that “Prime Minister Koizumi’s visit to Yasukuni Shrine was not good” or that “Prime Minister Koizumi should stop visiting Yasukuni Shrine,” while claiming that if the Yasukuni problem was that important, President Roh should have been more candid, as much as it was a summit between two leaders.

Meanwhile, once again, Japanese Education Minister Nariyaki Nakayama insisted that Dokdo should be specified as “Japanese territory” in a course of study at a news conference on the same day. Minister Nariyaki Nakayama also repeatedly maintained that it’s natural for Japanese to know from where to where Japan occupies its land and that teaching Japanese territory was not wrong, either.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lee Kyu-hyung, who refuted Machimura’s remarks by commenting on his “inappropriate behavior” and “distortion of the truth” the other day, rebuffed the Japanese foreign minister’s remarks, saying, “It is not worth making additional comments”

Won-Jae Park parkwj@donga.com