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Territorial Dispute Over Dokdo Flares Up Again

Posted December. 26, 2009 14:12,   


Japanese Education Minister Tatsuo Kawabata told a news conference after a Cabinet meeting Friday, “There is no change in making Takeshima (the Japanese name for Dokdo) recognized as our own land in a justifiable way.”

On Dokdo not being clearly mentioned in a textbook for high school students officially released by the Japanese government, he said, “We didn’t care for Korea when making the textbook or the timing of its release.”

His comment can be interpreted as Japan’s insistence on what it has claimed – Dokdo is its Japanese land – but at the same time, Tokyo took a step back in the territorial dispute. This is apparently because of next year’s Upper House elections at a time when most Japanese media reported that Takeshima is not clearly mentioned in consideration of bilateral ties.

The Korean government called and expressed regret to Japanese Ambassador to Seoul Toshinori Shigeie to the headquarters of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry Friday afternoon over Kawabata’s claims to Japan’s territorial ownership of Dokdo following the revision of Japanese textbooks. Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan complained Shigeie at 4:30 p.m.

A government source said, “Minister Yu expressed concern and regret to Ambassador Shigeie, saying that if Education Minister Kawabata said Dokdo is Japan’s own land at the news conference following the cabinet meeting, it is a serious problem.”

“He expressed concerns about the textbooks as well.”

In response, Shigeie said, “I will faithfully report the official stance of the Korean government expressed by Minister Yu to headquarters.”

The Korean government released a comment in the name of Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young, saying, “Regardless of any claim by the Japanese government, there is no (territorial) issue between Korea and Japan.”

“The revision of the textbook about teaching students with Japanese high school textbooks could incur a negative impact on the forward-looking relational development between the two countries as it injects the wrong concepts to Japan’s future generations.”

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