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Japan steps up offensives over alleged radar lock-on incident

Japan steps up offensives over alleged radar lock-on incident

Posted December. 27, 2018 07:46,   

Updated December. 27, 2018 07:46


Japan is stepping up its offensive against South Korea every day regarding a South Korean navy destroyer’s operation of a radar system while rescuing a North Korean boat in distress in the East Sea on Thursday. Even after the South Korean defense ministry’s explanation, Japan continues to claim that the destroyer targeted a fire control radar system toward a Japanese military surveillance aircraft, calling for an apology and punishing officials responsible for the situation.

Calling for Seoul’s apology and investigation, Masahisa Sato, Japan’s senior vice foreign minister, told a BS Fuji television program that such incidents can reoccur if appropriate measures, such an apology or explanation, are not taken. Regarding the differences between Seoul and Tokyo, he said that a conclusion could be reached if defense officials from the two countries discuss the issue with data.

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) held a security meeting, asking Parliamentary Vice Defense Minister Hiroshi Yamada to demand South Korea’s apology. Some of the participants went as far as to demand that South Korea punish its military officials responsible for the radar operation and that Tokyo summon Lee Su-hoon, the South Korean ambassador to Japan, to lodge a complaint.

“The Japanese government should deal with South Korea in stricter way,” Japan’s former Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, claiming that the incident could jeopardize the lives of members of the Self-Defense Forces. Tomohiro Yamamoto, chairman of the LDP’s national defense council, stepped up his criticism of South Korea, accusing Seoul of “telling lies” about the situation, which Japan’s Defense Minister Takeshi Iwaya made public with “clear evidence.” However, the minister cautioned against escalating tensions with South Korea. He argued that although the South Korean naval vessel did target the radar system toward the Japanese aircraft, Seoul is not Tokyo’s enemy, stressing the importance with the Seoul-Tokyo and Seoul-Tokyo-Washington relations.

South Korea’s military did not make any further announcement regarding the issue on Wednesday. “If Japan has evidence of the South Korean military’s radar targeting, Tokyo can just make it public,” a South Korean military official said. “I don’t know why Japan is not making the evidence public.” The official noted that if the Japanese aircraft was really targeted by the South Korean radar, Japan can simply make public the relevant frequency band. An analysis of the radio frequency band would reveal whether Japan is overreacting to the South Korean naval vessel’s operation of the MW-08 radar to locate the North Korean fishing boat or targeted the firing control STIR-180 radar toward the Japanese aircraft.

Young-A Soh sya@donga.com · Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com