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Cheong Wa Dae Blasts Over Japanese Media Distortion

Posted July. 16, 2008 08:17,   


Japanese media expressed their support in unison Tuesday over Japan’s Education, Science and Technology Ministry’s claim to the Dokdo islets in its curriculum guidelines for social studies at middle schools.

Controversy ignited however over the truth or falsehood of remarks attributed to President Lee in regard to the Dokdo islets by Japanese daily Yomiuri, although the Japanese Foreign Ministry clearly stated the controversy as groundless.

▽ All Japanese media render support to Dokdo sovereignty issue

The Japanese daily Yomiuri, which has covered the sovereignty issue of the Dokdo islets in depth since its earlier reports on May 18, argued in its editorial entitled “Teach the Truth: Takeshima Part of Japan” (the Japanese call the islets Takeshima) that “By the mid-17th century, Japan had established its sovereignty over the Takeshima islets.”

In its Tuesday editorial entitled “Territorial Issue Requires Cool Head and Mind,” Mainichi newspaper pointed out that, “If history serves as any guide, it is only natural for Japan to describe the Takeshima islets in textbooks as an integral part of the nation’s territory which is according to international law.”

The Sankei newspaper argued Takeshima as Japan’s sovereign territory citing historical background in its editorial. It said, “It is regrettable that the disputed islets haven’t clearly been mentioned as our territory in instruction manuals.”

▽ Japanese Foreign Ministry denies Yomiuri’s coverage of Lee’s remark

Japanese daily Yomiuri reported Tuesday that Korean President Lee Myung-bak said, “It is not proper timing. Give me more time,” when he was told about the Japanese government’s decision to mention the Dokdo islets in its guidebook by Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda at Toyako, Hokkaido, on July 9.

Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mitoji Yabunaka, however, denied Yomiuri’s report saying, “That is not the case,” and said the ministry would review countermeasures.

He also said, “Korean Ambassador to Japan Kwon Chul-hyun who visited the Japanese foreign ministry in protest over Yomiuri’s unfounded reports about President Lee’s remarks requested immediate measures be taken to correct them.”

▽ Cheong Wa Dae simmers over Japanese media manipulation

Cheong Wa Dae reputed Yomiuri’s report Tuesday. Presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said in a briefing, “Japan hadn’t made any decision (about how to refer to the Dokdo islets) when the two heads of states met on July 9. Given this, it makes no sense to deliver its decision to President Lee. Moreover, the argument that the president asked for more time is absolutely not true.”

He added, “It is understandable that the Japanese prime minister might have asked for understanding, but his remarks cannot be viewed as notice. If Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda had delivered notice to Lee, he should have mentioned the Japanese government’s decision. However, President Lee had first expressed his concerns over some moves by Japan to claim its sovereignty of Dokdo.”

“If some Japanese media (and the government) intentionally present news falsely in order to divide Korean society and distort the historical facts on the Dokdo islets, the Korean government will not just sit idly by and watch,” he stressed.

However, Democratic Party spokesman Choi Jae-seong criticized, “If the news report is true, President Lee should be impeached. If the president, who should protect the nation’s territory and abide by the Constitution, really said to wait for more proper timing, he was in clear breach of the Constitution.”

Meanwhile, the ruling Grand National Party spokesperson Cho yoon-seon blamed the Democratic Party saying, “The DP shouldn’t attempt to utilize the Dokdo issue as a political tool to attack the administration so as to divide the nation and the people.”