News / Asia

Japan Protests South Korean Media Tour to Disputed Isle

A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter August 10, 2012.
A set of remote islands called Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese is seen in this picture taken from a helicopter August 10, 2012.
Japan has officially complained to South Korea about a trip to a disputed rocky island organized Thursday for selected foreign media organizations.
 
“We've already lodged a protest because the move is inconsistent with our country's position,” the Japanese foreign minister, Koichiro Gemba, told reporters in Tokyo on Friday.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman, in a VOA interview, elaborated that for the South Korean government to transport correspondents via Seoul to the island is "totally unacceptable and extremely regrettable."
 
He said when the Japanese government learned Wednesday that the reporters, including at least one based in Tokyo, intended to accept the invitation from South Korea to take a helicopter ride to the islets Japan "strongly requested they refrain."
 
Some foreign media, on their own, have previously visited the islets, collectively known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese, but rarely has South Korea's government attempted to organize a group trip.
 
A South Korean government attempt to take correspondents to the island by ship in April 2005 was unsuccessful due to bad weather but a second trip in August 2008 succeeded.
 
On Thursday, several media organizations including BBC, CNN, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, International Herald Tribune, Le Figaro and The Washington Post flew by helicopter to the largest western islet.
 
Japan's semi-official Kyodo news agency said the South Korean government-funded tour was “apparently sought to promote its claims to the islands.”
 
Several officials at South Korea's Foreign Ministry and the official Culture and Information Service (KOCIS), under the Ministry of Culture and Information, deny their entities were behind the controversial visit, contending it was organized by the Northeast Asia History Foundation. The foundation is a South Korean government-funded organization which is assertive in promoting Korean sovereignty over the disputed rocks.
 
“Because we did not organize the tour we have nothing to say,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman told VOA on condition he not be named.
 
But several of the reporters who were taken to the disputed territory say they were officially invited via South Korean government representatives.
 
“All indications are despite what South Korean officials declare today, the government here was intimately involved in planning this,” says Seoul Foreign Correspondents' Club president Steve Herman, who is VOA's bureau chief in the South Korean capital.
 
Herman said the trip was arranged without the involvement of the SFCC, where about 100 of the Club's 250 correspondent members represent Japanese news outlets.
 
Some Japanese reporters in Seoul say they would be hesitant to visit the disputed rocks under such arrangements because they view it as recognizing South Korea's claim to the territory.
 
Tensions have dramatically increased between Seoul and Tokyo in recent months over the long-disputed rocks located halfway between the Korean peninsula and Japan's main island.
 
The territory, also known internationally as the Liancourt Rocks, consists of two main islets and numerous smaller reefs composing a total land mass of less than 19 hectares.
 
South Korea's Defense Ministry on Friday told VOA that on September 21 it scrambled F-15 fighter jets after a Japan Self- Defense Forces destroyer and one of the ship's anti-submarine warfare SH-60 helicopters “violated” its air defense safety zone without prior authorization.
 
“This activity did not pose any issue under international law,” Japan's defense minister, Satoshi Morimoto, responded on Friday.
 
Officials in Seoul say the 4,200-ton warship turned around away after a radio warning was issued by the South Korean military.
 
Following an unprecedented visit to the disputed territory in August by South Korean president Lee Myung-bak, the Japanese government announced it had begun preparations to unilaterally take the dispute to the International Court of Justice.
 
That is expected to further strain deteriorating bilateral ties. The United States, which has military bases in both countries, has urged both governments to work out the dispute through consultation.
 
South Korea has had armed personnel on the remote island since the 1950s. Japan considers the rocks part of its Shimane prefecture and terms South Korea's occupation illegal.
 
Japan is also enmeshed in decades-old unresolved territorial disputes with China and Russia that have also flared again in recent months.
 
Youmi Kim in the VOA Seoul bureau contributed to this report.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Saito from: Japan
October 05, 2012 10:42 AM
The world should know - China is Arabs and Japan is Israel... Japanese people do not riot like monkeys in the streets... Japanese people respect order and decorum... China should be careful not to translate our dignity to mean cowardice... I can already sense Japanese nationalism getting strong again under Chinese provocations... China be careful how you behave, we are like Israel!!!

In Response

by: Brit Broxton from: U.S.A
October 05, 2012 1:25 PM
Just look at the thriving sex industry in Japan and tell me who are the Monkeys. :D

In Response

by: vindu16@yahoo.com from: U.S.A
October 05, 2012 12:36 PM
Japan is Japan. It is nothing like Isreal. China is a country with over 5000 years of history. Good and bad time we accept all our history and learn from them. The world already know a lot about bad japanese behaviors. Don't be naughty again.


by: HanSangYoon from: South Korea
October 05, 2012 10:39 AM
Japan has no rights to claim the islands since they didn't own the island. Korea settled on the islands since the AD 500s, and Japan invaded in the 1600s claiming it "theirs". And since Japan knows they would increase in possibility of retaking over this island, they're continuously begging Korea to take them to the ICJ. But consider another Japanese dispute problem, the China-Japan's Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands. China proposed the ICJ but Japan rejected it. Korea finds no reason why they should be going to the ICJ if they rejected the China-Japan ICJ. Japan must wake up and recognize three stuffs: Surrounding, Reality, and Truth.


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
October 05, 2012 10:19 AM
What's wrong with Japan? Now Japan is behaving like Germany in between WWI and WWII. Why Japan is conflicting with all its neighbors?

In Response

by: I love my country from: USA
October 05, 2012 11:40 AM
WHY? China is doing the same thing to its neighbors. WWIII soon in ASIA


by: Samurai from: Japan
October 05, 2012 7:32 AM
Why S. Korea does not fairly and squarely submit a claim to the Takeshima islets to the international court? Takeshima is an inherent Japanese territory in the interests of justice. S. Korea stole the islets when Japan has not attained independence after WWII. I expected that Koreans have also learned manners and ethics from Confucius, to no avail. Doesn't S.Korea know who will really help it when it is in dire straits such as collapse of N.Korea?

In Response

by: Antisamurai from: USA
October 05, 2012 9:09 PM
Japanese, Why don't you go International Court with China, Taiwan and Russia??

In Response

by: Korean Confucious from: Seoul
October 05, 2012 10:20 AM
Equally, Mr. Samurai, does Japan have no shame? When was honor not part of the culture you abided? Frankly, you stole Dokdo when Korea was being annexed by your imperialist government. Frankly speaking, wasn't Okinawa and Daiyou originally China before again Japan imperialist decided to annex it?

In the end, it's not a matter of culture but really about which historical event is more significant. And lastly, Japan doesn't aid unless their interest are met. That is with all sovereign nations. Simply put, it's not free and is intended to benefit Japan. Stop with this charade that Japan is superior because if you keep with this nationalism ignorance, then Japan will really be alone.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid